Infiniti backs off EV push to chase sales volume

Infiniti will not launch its first electric vehicle next year.

Infiniti is holding back on its electric vehicle plans in order to focus on raising its global vehicle deliveries to 500,000 units by early 2017.

Infiniti, the luxury division of parent company Nissan, proclaimed last summer that its first production electric vehicle - based on the LE concept car - would hit the market in early 2014. However, Infiniti has officially scrapped that timeframe due to the slow adoption of electric vehicles and the brand's newfound efforts to dramatically grow its worldwide sales volume.

"There will be an Infiniti EV. The question is one of timing," Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen told Automotive News. "We have a whole host of product priorities. We have to make very substantial investments now, and it's important that we expand our volume footprint quite quickly."

De Nysschen added that the LE project never received approval from Infiniti's top brass.

"There has been no formal decision yet within the company to give the project the green light and let them start with investment," he said.

Instead of chasing EV sales, Infiniti will pursue Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn's target of selling 500,000 cars worldwide by the end of the fiscal year ending March 2017. Infiniti recorded just 170,000 worldwide sales last year.

De Nysschen admits that goal might be hard to achieve, but says it's far more important to "expand our market footprint" than develop an EV that is perceived as "progressive technology but is not helping to expand the volume base."

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