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Infiniti Australia chief departs

Moving on: Infiniti Australia projects strong growth next year with two new volume models, the Q30 and Q50, but founding boss Kevin Snell is leaving.

Founding Infiniti Australia boss Kevin Snell quits, effective from end of September

6 Sep 2013

KEVIN Snell, general manager of Infiniti’s fledgling Australian operations, has resigned from the company effective from the end of September.

In a short release, Infiniti Cars Australia today announced Mr Snell would depart the Japanese luxury car brand to “establish his own independent business operation outside the automotive industry”.

Mr Snell has led the brand for the past three years, even though it has only sold vehicles here for about 12 months. Over that time, Mr Snell drove the development of the brand’s expansionary business case and oversaw its operations since launch.

Now head-quartered globally in Hong Kong, the Nissan-owned luxury brand is in the midst of expanding beyond its US heartland into a host of other mature markets across the globe. Australia is seen as an important, if small-volume, market among these.

Former Ateco employee Andrei Zaitzev, who was last week announced as Infiniti Australia’s new national sales manager, will assume Mr Snell’s responsibilities on an interim basis.

Infiniti Global president Johan de Nysschen expressed well-wishes for the departing Mr Snell.

 center imageLeft: Infiniti Australia general manager Kevin Snell.

“Kevin has successfully laid the groundwork for Infiniti in Australia. I am grateful for his strong contributions and wish him well in his new endeavours,” he said.

Infiniti was launched in Australia at the start of September last year. The premium car maker’s extensive market entry program has delivered Australian new-car buyers a refreshing alternative and, one year later, the company is underway with the next stage of its local market growth plans.” News of Mr Snell’s departure comes in the same week as Infiniti announced significant price cuts across its three-model range in order to stimulate slow early sales.

The Nissan-owned company lopped up to $10,000 from its FX soft-roader, as much as $11,500 from the M Series sedan and up to $13,100 from its G37 two-door coupe and convertible line-up.

As reported, the cuts should improve volumes in tandem with new arrivals such as the Q50 compact sedan late this year and the Q30 small-car in 2014, plus an expansion of its current three-site East Coast dealer network into both South Australia and Western Australia.

According to industry figures, 207 Infinitis have been registered this year so far, a tiny fraction of what Lexus, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have posted. In an interview earlier this week, the brand’s general manager of corporate communications Peter Fadeyev told us the company expected its early days here to be tough going.

“You can’t expect to join a highly competitive, geographically isolated market with 60-something brands and expect to sell a lot of cars quickly,” he said.

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