Francois Bancon is set to become vice president of product strategy at Infiniti, a position he will fill from April 1 this year. Based at the company’s global headquarters in Hong Kong, he will report to Johan de Nysschen, president of Nissan’s luxury car division, and work directly with executive design director Alfonso Albaisa.
A seasoned product executive with more than 35 years of experience in the automotive industry, Bancon is currently division general manager for Nissan, a position he’s held since 2005. In this capacity, he leads product strategy and planning for the advanced product department, where was instrumental in the development and introduction of the Nissan Leaf as well as exploratory concepts. He will now have overall responsibility for the Infiniti product portfolio.
“I am very pleased that Francois is joining the Infiniti leadership team,” said de Nysschen. “Product is at the core of our growth strategy. Francois’ product experience, his passion, and in particular his in-depth knowledge of future product trends, will be key assets as we continue to craft our future portfolio.”
Long in the shadows of rival Lexus, Infiniti plans to increase its vehicle portfolio by 60% and more than double its powertrain portfolio over the next five years. A clear plan of action is therefore essential in moving Infiniti forwards.
The company aims to increase its presence in emerging markets as well as its visibility in established markets and has already begun laying foundations for a major product expansion. Infiniti’s recent Q30 and Q50 Eau Rouge concept precursors signal the brand’s ambition to expand its offerings in 80% of the premium automotive segment by 2018.
Bancon, a Frenchman who graduated from l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris, started his automotive career in 1978 with Renault. In 1999, he joined Nissan as general manager in charge of perceived quality within the company’s design team. He was named to his current position as head of advanced product planning six years later and added the duties of segment chief product specialist overseeing the company’s zero emission products in 2007.