Nissan is moving its European brand chief Bastien Schupp to the new role of European marketing director for its Infiniti marque, as it gets ready for a European launch next year.
The luxury Infiniti brand has been hugely successful in the US, where it was established in 1989. Sales grew by 88% to 136,401 between 1999 and 2005. The marque’s current line-up includes luxury SUVs and executive saloons.
Schupp, who is general manager for brand and advertising at Nissan Europe, will be responsible for all marketing activity for the upmarket Infiniti range, which will go up against Toyota-owned Lexus. He will report to vice-president of Infiniti Europe Jim Wright in his new role.
Schupp, who is a former Audi marketer, has been at Nissan for more than two years and reports to vice-president of marketing for Nissan Europe Paul Wilcox. A spokesman says he was chosen for the Infiniti role because he has the “premium experience we’re looking for” after working at Audi.
Lexus has seen sales jump 60% across Europe in five years and Nissan is looking to target the same group of wealthier customers reluctant to buy a mid-market, or German, car.
The spokesman adds that the company has not yet decided which agencies will work on the launch of Infiniti in Europe, although it seems likely that Nissan incumbent TBWA will play a significant role because it handles both brands in the US.
Wilcox was promoted to the top marketing role at Nissan in 2005, having previously been GB marketing director.
Nissan handed global brand responsibility to its communications chief Simon Sproule at the start of this year following the departure of vice-president of global marketing Steve Wilhite last year (MW January 18).