Nissan's Infiniti books 18 pct rise in first-quarter sales volume

Norihiko Shirouzu

* Q1 global sales volume rises 18 pct to 67,367 vehicles

* March global sales volume rises 14 pct to 28,406 vehicles

* China likely to be biggest market for premium cars -CEO

(Adds chief executive comments)

BEIJING April 6 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd's

premium brand Infiniti sold 67,367 vehicles globally in the

first three months of 2017, up 18 percent from the same period a

year prior, showed a prepared press release seen by Reuters on

Thursday.

In March alone, Infiniti sold 28,406 vehicles, up 14

percent.

Infiniti's global chief executive, Roland Krueger, said in a

telephone interview that new models such as the Q30 crossover

and Q60 coupe should help the brand further grow sales volume.

He declined to provide an overall forecast for 2017.

Last year, Hong Kong-headquartered Infiniti sold about

231,000 vehicles, up 7 percent from 2015.

Krueger said he is counting on China to provide more

momentum in coming months.

Though sales volume growth rates in China have slowed, "we

need to recognise China is the largest single car market in the

world," Krueger said. "It also has the potential to become, over

time, the largest single market for premium vehicles in the

world. That's very significant, and we need to push there."

The brand sold 10,041 vehicles in China in the first quarter

of this year, up 4 percent. In March, sales increased 6 percent

to 4,050 vehicles.

Overall performance in the first three months of the year

was also partly led by Infiniti's U.S. unit, which sold 43,561

vehicles, up 33 percent. U.S. sales volume in March rose 33

percent on year to 18,266 vehicles.

(Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Christopher

Cushing)