Luxury car maker puts faith in city
A LUXURY car maker will bring its latest site to Hull.
Infiniti, which sells vehicles in the £35,000 to £58,000 price range, has chosen the city as the site of its seventh UK showroom.
The company's UK communications manager Terry Steeden said: "It represents a significant investment and shows confidence in the future prosperity of this region."
Due to open in late September or early October, it will be housed in the former Humberside Saab Centre in Priory Park and forms part of the Humberside Motor Group, owned and run by father- and-son duo Terry and Stephen Smith, of Grimsby, who also have dealerships on the south bank.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Infiniti, the luxury car arm of Nissan – as Lexus is to Toyota – opened its first UK centre in Reading in 2009 and now has others in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and Stockport.
According to Humberside Motor Group sales director Stephen Smith, the philosophy is to offer "an unforgettable experience akin to visiting a five-star hotel".
He said people will be "genuinely blown away".
Humberside Motor Group is predicting sales of 150 cars from the Hull showroom in the first full year of trading, which would represent a turnover well in excess of £5 million.
The current six-car range includes hatchback, saloon, convertible, coupé, 4x4 and hybrid models, with more to be launched next year.
Mr Smith said: "Some might raise an eyebrow to a prestige luxury car marque opening in Hull but we do not accept the city's negative image.
"We believe it is something to celebrate that the city is only the seventh in the country to have the brand.
"We expect to do well and wouldn't be doing this if we didn't.
"It represents a significant investment on our part and we can't wait for the official opening."
Special events planned for the opening include an appearance by the Red Bull F1 racing team, which Infiniti sponsors, and possibly its star driver, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel acts as a global ambassador for Infiniti and has given his name to a special limited edition of Infiniti's FX 4x4. Only 200 examples of the £100,000 Vettel cars will be built and one of these will be in Hull for the centre's opening.
Work is progressing to transform the existing Priory Park showrooms ready for the opening. Meanwhile, an unheralded "soft opening" has seen the company sell six cars in just two weeks.
Mr Smith said: "We already have demonstrators on site and people can call in for a test drive.
"They certainly turn heads. Since I've been driving Infiniti, I've had people overtake me, then slow down, just to look at the car.
"They represent a level of style and luxury second to none."
Mr Smith said the Hull centre will service a wide region, from Newcastle to Cambridge. The Priory Park site will continue to act as an authorised service centre for Saab cars and will continue to sell nearly new and used models.
The Infiniti brand was launched in the US in 1989 and came to Europe in 2008 with a phased launch across 21 countries.
Mr Steeden said the company hopes to have 38 to 40 UK centres by 2016.