“The German brands in particular are all occupying particular positions in the marketplace,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti Global Ltd. “We would like to present Infiniti as the seductive alternative. We've got a strong reputation for performance, and we can deliver hospitality coming from our Japanese roots.... It's part of our DNA.”
Historically, the Germans, followed by the Japanese, have been the big players in this segment. But General Motors Co. recently make a bold statement in the same market, the Cadillac ATS.
The sedan, which has been on sale for a few months, grabbed its own attention at the show, winning the North American Car of the Year award.
“We didn’t compromise, and we demonstrated that we can compete in that segment,” said Mary Barra, senior vice president for global product development at General Motors. “We need to make sure the world understands what we have there, and that’s why winning the award was great. It will help tell that story.”
Barra concedes that the bottom of the luxury market, especially when it comes to sports sedans, is pretty entrenched.
“But I also think today’s consumers are looking around,” Barra said. “They are not letting anyone rest on their past.”