NEW YORK--Infiniti killed two birds with one stone last week, revealing what it expects to be a high-volume addition to its lineup and reducing its exposure to Japan's rising yen.
Parent Nissan Motor said the luxury brand will receive a new three-row, seven-passenger crossover called the JX, which will be manufactured starting next spring in Smyrna, Tenn.--the only Infiniti built outside of Japan.
"It will be a big-volume car for us," said Ben Poore, Infiniti Business Unit vice president. "I'm not sure we're talking about G volume," he added, referring to the brand's top-selling G-series car, which has sales of about 75,000 a year.
He said the JX would compete against the Lexus RX, which sells in the range of 100,000 a year. Infiniti's second-best-selling vehicle, the M sedan, sold just under 15,000 units last year.
He estimates family-sized crossovers now account for a third of the luxury vehicle market.
"That segment is growing," he said. "It will be a big seller, and we'll have a good production base for that."
At the same time, all of Nissan North America has been focused on moving products and components out of yen-based manufacturing and into dollar-based manufacturing.
To make room for the JX, Nissan will move two models currently built in Smyrna--the Frontier and Xterra--to Canton, Miss., starting in 2012.
(Source: Automotive News)