Infiniti of Lafayette, which since 1998 has operated a pre-owned lot and service center at 6866 Johnston St., is making a $5 million investment in a new car dealership in the Lafayette market. The new car facility is under construction next to Hampton Toyota, about 1.5 miles closer to the Mall of Acadiana than its current location at 6291 Johnston St.
|Infiniti dealer John Fabre|
The Lafayette operation opened in the late ’90s mainly to service locals who were buying Infinitis in Baton Rouge, says John Fabre, who owns the Infiniti and Acura franchises in the Capital City and has been in the car business since 1990. Infiniti, the luxury division of automaker Nissan, likes what it sees in the local market so much that it approved Lafayette as one of only a few markets to be awarded a downsized version of its dealership model, which got a totally new look about a year ago, according to Fabre. “Infiniti, until recently, didn’t think Lafayette was a big enough market. They designed this store for a small market,” he says.
Designed with an eye toward preserving the trio of 100-year-old oaks on the site (Bob’s Tree Preservation was brought into the process early on), the approximately 16,000-square-foot facility is being constructed on six acres — ample space to add another franchise down the road, Fabre says. “We’re not going to develop all of it immediately,” the dealer says. Does that mean there could be a dealership for Acura, Toyota’s luxury vehicle division, in Lafayette’s future? “It’s possible,” he says. “That’s the goal, but it’s not a done deal.”
Infiniti’s pre-owned car dealership and service center will vacate the location it is currently leasing on Johnston Street once the new facility is complete — possibly by December. Infiniti of Lafayette now employs about 10 people and will immediately add a dozen employees when the new location opens.