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To Infiniti and beyond: Carmaker starts EU drive

Luxury U.S. automaker Infiniti launched a premium compact car on Tuesday, in a bid to challenge Germany's dominance in the European high-end car space.

Despite the stagnation of the Europe car market as a whole, luxury sales have remained buoyant, albeit dominated by the big three German players: BMW, Mercedes-Benz (owned by Daimler) and Audi.

(Read more: BMW: Car industry dynamics 'are shifting')

Infiniti Q30 Concept car

Now, Infiniti hopes to overturn the status quo with the Q30 Concept car, which it describes as a "unique blend" of a coupe, hatchback and a crossover.

Infiniti President Johann de Nysschen said the vehicle's launch was part of the brand's move to become less U.S.-centric, and develop cars for overseas markets.

"This car has really been conceived with Europe in mind. One of the challenges with being so successful in the U.S. is that are product strategy was not really suited to the needs of the European market," he told CNBC at the 65th Frankfurt International Motor Show.

"Evolving this car is an important step… to get close to the center of gravity in this market."

De Nysschen said the car featured a smaller engine than some of its more U.S.-orientated models, in order to broaden its appeal to Europeans.

The car is a precursor to the compact premium model that Infiniti will start producing at Nissan's U.K. plant in Sunderland in 2015. It will be the first new car brand to be manufactured on a large-scale in the country in 23 years, and could create over 1,000 jobs.

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While the Q30 will also go on sale in Asia, De Nysschen raised concerns about the economic picture in China and Japan.

"China has already begun to show a slower rate of increase of growth and we have seen some price corrections begin to manifest themselves in the premium market. Manufacturers have enjoyed very healthy margins and it was probably not sustainable, so we see this as a normalization of prices," he said.

(Read more: Bond sub car fails to wow at auction)

It is still unknown when the Q30 Concept will hit showrooms, but Infiniti's new Q50 sports sedan will go on sale in Europe in mid-November.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato. Follow CNBC on Twitter @CNBCWorld

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