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Future models - Infiniti - Q50

Q50 to be number one for Infiniti

Form a Q: The Q50 is scheduled for a local launch in quarter four and will feature new technologies and Daimler-built engines.

Infiniti to gradually expand line-up in Oz starting with mid-size Q50

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Infiniti logo14 Mar 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

INFINITI’S BMW 3 Series rival, the Q50 sedan, looks set to become the Japanese luxury brand’s top-selling car when it arrives in local showrooms in the last quarter of this year.

The mid-size luxury contender was officially revealed at the Detroit motor show in January and replaces the aging G sedan that will not be sold in Australia.

New technologies such as a steer-by-wire system with customised steering settings and cameras that monitor lane markers on the road to ensure the best steering feel will be options in the Q50 range.

Speaking at the launch of the new Infiniti Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton this week, Infiniti Cars Australia general manager Kevin Snell said he was confident that the Q50 would help grow the brand locally.

“The Q50 is really exciting for us in quarter four,” he said. “It’s an all-new product in the most competitive category and we know we have got a fantastic car coming that is really going to put us on the map in that segment.”

While Mr Snell said the FX SUV would remain the top-selling Infiniti in Australia over the next 12 months, the Q50 would have an impact on that when it arrives.

“It’s a brand new car, an amazing chassis and there are some unique technologies there. I would think through 2014-15 it and the FX would be our main sellers.”

Mr Snell said he was excited by what was coming up in Infiniti’s future product pipeline, highlighting the deal to use Daimler-built petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines to power a number of variants in the rear-wheel drive Q50 line-up.

The Australian arm of Infinti is yet to confirm powertrains for the local market, but it is likely that the Daimler engines will feature, with a possibility of Nissan’s 3.5-litre V6 making an appearance as well.

Mr Snell said that while he could not comment too much about future product, Infiniti’s global line-up would expand in the coming years with a number of new models in the product pipeline.

“Fast forward to 2014 to 2016 and this is a brand which is going to have a full range of crossovers, compacts, sedans, sports models, four-cylinder petrol and diesel turbos, six-cylinders, V8s, hybrids, we have also shown an electric car.

“The product pipeline is really exciting in terms of what meets the demands of the Australian market, the fact that we have got some of the smaller cars and crossovers and the smaller turbo engines coming in our pipeline, we think it’s going to work really well in this market,” he said.

Confirmed for production in 2015 at Nissan’s Sutherland plant in Britain is Infniti’s new small car, likely to be called Q30, that will be based on the Etherea concept shown at the Geneva motor show in 2011 and built on the Mercedes-Benz MFA platform that underpins the new A-Class.

Mr Snell said that while the premium small car segment was booming, it is essential for the brand to build its base with larger luxury cars.

“It will be important for our growth in the mid to long term but it’s not the right place to start a brand. I think it’s important to establish our credentials in the traditional luxury segments, which we will do with the FX, M and Q50.

“Down the track when we have got broad brand awareness and broad appeal then we will look to expand into those segments as well,” he said.

Mr Snell said that the LE electric concept car from last year’s New York motor show could be considered for a local berth should it go into production, but it was still being shown as a concept.

The QX60 seven-seat crossover that was launched in the US early last year has been ruled out of the local line-up for now, but Mr Snell said it would be “a really nice compliment to our range at some point in the mid to long term.”

Mr Snell said he was happy to concentrate on building brand awareness and focusing on the current line-up for now, but more vehicles were likely down the track.

“As we grow in the five to 10 year timeframe, then we will add more of those supporting products that will really fill out the full range.”

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