Corporate business will account for just under 60% of Infiniti registrations in the UK this year, which are up in total by around 69%, although the numbers are small (342 units).
“The total volumes won’t frighten people but we are up year-on-year ahead of our expectations,” said Tony Lewis, Infiniti director for Northern Europe.
He puts success in the corporate sector, primarily boardroom directors, down to two elements: high quality cars that are well equipped, and customer support and hospitality at its retail centres.
“Business customers like to be treated differently and they don’t often get that with the traditional competitors in the market,” Lewis said.
Infiniti offers a VIP option where its retailers will collect and deliver customer cars. This no-charge service counters the issue over a limited dealer network (it has just seven centres, with five in the planning stages).
However, only around 13% of customers use VIP; the rest are happy to visit the network.
“They like going to our centres and using Wi-Fi and the office facilities that they offer,” Lewis explained.
Key to future growth is building trust by “doing everything we say we will”, he added. That includes the RV policy which sees the Infiniti network consume “99%” of cars returning to market.
“We don’t put out more cars than we have capacity for but the RV guides have to see that.
Montenegro added: “We are a new brand so we are sometimes penalised by leasing companies. They want to know more about our strategy and see more products. But things are changing, especially with the major leasing companies.”
Infiniti is in constant dialogue with leasing providers about repatriation programmes because its retailers are desperate for all cars, irrespective of age and price level. Low volumes and a commitment not to offer high discounts mean its cars represent a low risk.
“We can deliver on our residuals promises,” Lewis said.
He believes there is less brand loyalty today as fleet user choosers consider new options. “In the past there has been three main players in premium . Now there’s the ability for customers to sample others, especially if they have had a poor experience or service, and they like what we are saying. People are becoming more open to changing brand.”