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Nissan-owned Infiniti has never managed to truly compete against luxury heavyweights like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW on their home turf.

Renault- Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is on a quest to change that in the not-too-distant future. He wants Infiniti to sell no less than 100,000 cars a year in Europe by 2016, a massive increase over the 12,500 Infinitis that were sold on the Old Continent last year.

Ghosn hopes that Infiniti’s upcoming front-wheel drive hatchback will play a large part in increasing the brand’s share of the European market. The hatchback’s target audience is much younger than Infiniti’s current target audience so it is expected to draw new customers into showrooms.

Due out in 2014, the yet-unnamed hatchback will likely be heavily inspired by the Etherea concept that was displayed at the 2011 edition of the Geneva Motor Show.

Staying in line with Ghosn’s wish to move production out of Japan, the hatchback will be built in Europe by Austria’s Magna-Steyr, though precisely which factory it will roll out of is not known at this point. The car will be aimed squarely at the BMW 1-Series, the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It will share its platform and some of its four-cylinder engines with the aforementioned A-Class, meaning that it will be front-wheel drive.

If all goes according to plan, the hatchback will make up approximately half of the projected 100,000 cars sold in Europe in 2016.

Europe is not the only region where Ghosn wants to see more Infinitis. The CEO hopes to sell 500,000 cars worldwide in 2016, up from 146,000 units last year.
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