News - Infiniti
BMW M4, QX50 on Infiniti’s radar
Inspired: The QX Inspiration Concept previews the QX50 mid-size SUV that is on the cards for Australia.
Infiniti Q60 Project Black S and QX50 set to grow brand
20 April 2017
INFINITI Cars Australia product planning manager Bernard Michel has revealed
that production versions of the sports coupe Q60 Project Black S Concept and QX
Sport Inspiration medium SUV concept have both been given the go-ahead, each
with specific targets to drive brand image and sales growth respectively.
Speaking at the national media launch of the Q60 Red Sport in rural Victoria
last week, Mr Michel explained Infiniti’s book-end strategy of simultaneously
building the brand with a halo Q60 sportscar, and driving volume by offering a
brand new Mercedes-Benz GLC rival, called the QX50, in the medium SUV class.
“We’re on a trajectory of introducing new product into the range,” Mr Michel he
“A lot of the previous-generation stuff was the old generation, so from that
perspective I can only really see sustainable growth moving forward and it’s
about getting the right products for the market.”
Number one, Mr Michel argued, was turning the QX Sport Inspiration concept –
first shown at January’s Detroit motor show – into the production QX50 medium
SUV, although he conceded that “we probably won’t see it this year”.
Asked whether the QX50 would look like the concept vehicle, however, he
replied: “It does, it’s pretty close.
“Right now the Australian market is an SUV-based market and that’s where we
want to back-fill a lot of our product line-up,” he continued.
“Q30 is contributing to growth, but I still think a medium-sized SUV is the one
for this market. We’re watching that (a production QX Sport Inspiration)
vigilantly and we think that’s the car, the punters are telling us that. That’s
the one that will continue the growth for Infiniti in this country.”
A change in Infiniti’s global CEO from Johan de Nysschen, who presided over the
company from July 2012 until July 2014, to Roland Krueger, formerly senior
vice-president at BMW, has also finally handed the brand a BMW M4 sportscar
Despite being initially slated for production, Infiniti killed off 2014’s Q50
Eau Rouge Concept, which used a Nissan GT-R drivetrain in a medium sedan body.
The brand’s next foray into a similar concept vehicle was in March 2017 with
the Q60 Project Black S, which Mr Michel insisted would not be killed off.
“Let’s just say under the new regime of management I doubt that (it would be
killed off),” he said.
“It was under two different sets of management. Roland Krueger who is the CEO
now, he comes from BMW, so performance-based cars and he has an objective, he
wants to see these sorts of projects come to life. His endeavour is to continue
to build this brand.
“He’s pushing this agenda and he wants to have a fast flagship for the company.”
The concept was powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine developing
298kW, and boosted by a Renault Sport F1-derived hybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery
System (KERS) said to raise outputs by 25 per cent – to around 373kW.
Mr Michel revealed that the Infiniti engineers working on the Renault Sport F1
program want “a one-for-one translation” between racing technology and
“I think there’s a relationship there with F1, we’re the technical partner to
them (Renault Sport) specialising in hybrids,” Mr Michel said.
“CO2 emissions targets are everywhere around the globe, so electric cars,
hybrids, that’s the way of the future. If they have got specialised know-how
about it, why not use it? If you’ve got the potential from a performance
perspective to do it, why not?
“It (a production Q60 Project Black S) is pretty advanced. Going back to the
roots of Q50 we launched the hybrid here a few years back and it still performs
extremely well, 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds, it’s an extremely fast car with
astonishing fuel economy. It’s the sort of thing that Infiniti want to separate
themselves from the rest of the market by doing different things.
“Things like the Project Black S (when) that comes to fruition … that builds
another whole new element to the brand in terms of performance credentials”.