Over to Geneva to the European head office of Infiniti, which will be launched in the UK late next year.
I was given a presentation by vice-president Jim Wright, communications director Wayne Bruce and product manager Nicolas Tschann on its forthcoming models, most of which will be new and not those currently available in other countries.
Infiniti has been successful in North America since it was launched there in 1989. Infiniti will sell only high-performance, luxury vehicles that have a niche market appeal, and are not trying to all bases like the Germans.
An unknown marque hitting the luxury end of the market might prove a bit difficult, but with its unique styling it might just appeal to those wanting a luxury car, full of goodies and sensibly priced.
Down to BMW Towers in Bracknell to have a look at the first pre-production MINI Clubman – not so much an estate, more a functional, versatile MINI.
It is 238mm longer than the hatchback with 80mm more rear legroom, which is very noticeable.
The Clubman has a “Clubdoor” on the driver’s side – passenger side in left-hand drive markets – which is rear hinged like the Mazda RX-8’s. It didn’t seem to serve any useful purpose, as getting in and out of the rear using the normal passenger door is relatively easy.
It seems MINI has come up with a solution to a problem that never existed.
The boot space is now very usable. No doubt the Clubman, like the hatch, will be sought after both new and used, with prices still remaining good at all years and across all models.
Prices for the Clubman will be £1,210 more than the equivalent three-door, which seems a good deal. It goes on sale on November 10.
Had a visit from James Hopkins, Mazda’s fleet and remarketing director, and Steve Tomlinson, national leasing manager, who brought an all-new Mazda2 up to Leeds.
It was a very early pre-production car, one of only three in the UK. The new 2 goes on sale in the UK on September 8, well ahead of the rest of Europe – so early, in fact, that the international press launch isn’t until September 27.
The Mazda2 will be launched as a five-door only, followed next May with a three-door. Prices start at £8,499 for a 1.3 TS.
The 2 is a big step forward in terms of styling from the current car, it drives well and has a well-appointed interior. It should be a popular used car.
Mazda expects to sell around 8,000 in the first full year.