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Detroit show: Back to the future for Infiniti badges

All change: Infiniti might just be getting established in Australia, but now all the model names are set to change.

Infiniti Qs up for new naming system, starting with its mid-sized Q50 sports sedan

18 Dec 2012

INFINITI has harked back to its roots to come up with a new model-naming system to be applied to vehicles launched from next year, starting with the G sedan replacement that will debut as the Q50 at the Detroit motor show in January.

From now on, all new models from Nissan’s luxury brand with wear a Q (for passenger cars) or QX (for SUVs), followed by a double-digit number that will roughly equate to the hierarchy in the range.

The system was inspired by the Infiniti Q45 – the full-sized luxury car produced by the company in 1989 to counter Toyota’s Lexus LS400.

The switch comes just as Australian new-car buyers in eastern state capitals are beginning to grapple with the current system after the brand’s reintroduction to this market in September.

Models launched here so far include the FX large SUV range, the M sedan (a BMW 5 Series competitor) and G Coupe and Convertible (a rival for the likes of BMW’s two-door 3 Series models and Audi’s A5).

The Q50 is scheduled to land in Australian showrooms in late 2013 or early 2014, and will be followed by the new-generation coupe and convertible versions that are expected to come under the Q60 banner a year or so later.

 center imageFrom top: Infiniti M sedan, G37 coupe, FX SUV.

Power for the Q50 and Q60 will come from a range of new Mercedes-Benz-designed inline four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to be built by Nissan/Infiniti in the US, as well as the familiar Nissan-based petrol V6 that features in the Infiniti FX SUV and M sedan.

Current models will keep their existing naming system until new model-year updates are introduced.

Infiniti Cars Australia national media and public relations manager Peter Fadeyev said the Australian organisation was awaiting word from the Hong Kong headquarters of Infiniti on when the existing models would be re-branded.

Infiniti says the change “reflects Infiniti’s desire for clarity and cohesiveness as it embarks on ambitious growth plans, including significant expansion of the Infiniti portfolio”.

Infiniti’s new global president, Johan de Nysschen, said the company had talked at length with its retailers, customers and business partners about the brand.

“The need for a new identity and direction to promote consumer familiarity with our model range as we expand the portfolio became evident,” he said.

“To achieve this, we clearly needed a simple and consistent nomenclature framework.

“After exhaustive research and evaluation, we concluded that ‘Q’ captured the inspiration within the next generation of Infiniti models, as well as emphasising our performance credentials while harking back to our heritage with the Q45 – Infiniti’s first iconic flagship product in 1989.” Infiniti has lagged behind Lexus in its market penetration around the world, not to mention the established German brands that dominate Europe and also have a big head start in China and other emerging markets.

Under Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn, Infiniti has embarked on a rapid expansion of both its product range and market presence, with the goal of selling cars in 71 countries by 2016.

Mr Ghosn has also pledged to spread Infiniti production from Japan, saying it will make cars in both China and Europe.

In Australia, Infiniti has opened new dealerships in Sydney and Brisbane, and is having another built in Melbourne for a February kick-off.

Others will follow in a year or so in Adelaide and Perth, and then in large regional cities such as Canberra, Gold Coast and Newcastle.

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