Infiniti: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Infiniti
Type Division
Founded 1989
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Key people Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President of Infiniti
Industry Automotive
Products Automobile
Parent Nissan Motors
Website Infiniti USA
Infiniti Canada
Infiniti Europe
Infiniti of Britain
Infiniti Middle East

Infiniti (Japanese: インフィニティ Infinitī?) is the luxury car division of Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Infiniti officially started selling vehicles on November 8, 1989 in North America and its global operations have since grown to include the Middle East, South Korea, Russia, Switzerland, China and Ukraine. Infiniti began sales in additional European markets in late 2008 [1]. Today, the Infiniti global network includes more than 230 dealers in 15 countries.

The Infiniti name is not used in Japan, so most Infiniti models are sold under the Nissan marque: G37 sedan/coupe (Nissan Skyline Coupe), M35/45 (Nissan Fuga), EX35 (Nissan Skyline Crossover) and Q45 (Nissan Cima), the latter which was discontinued as an Infiniti model after 2006. The Infiniti FX and QX56 have no Nissan equivalents and are not sold in Japan.

Contents

History

Advertisements

1989: The beginning

1990-1993 Infiniti Q45

The Infiniti brand was introduced in the United States in 1989. Its purpose back then, as it is now, was to create and sell premium vehicles in the United States that wouldn't have otherwise fit in with Nissan's more mainstream image. Not by coincidence, Infiniti was created around the same time as Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda's luxury brands, Lexus and Acura respectively, since Japan imposed Voluntary Export Restraints for the US market, so it made more sense for the Japanese manufacturers to export more expensive cars there. The Infiniti marque was launched with the Q45, which was based on the JDM Nissan President on a shortened wheelbase. The Q45 included a 278 hp (207 kW) V8 engine, four wheel steering, and active suspension system offered on the first generation Q45t. These would have made it competitive in the full-sized luxury segment against the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Cadillac Fleetwood, however the Q45 found few buyers due to its styling in comparison to the Toyota rival, the Lexus LS.

1990 Infiniti M30 Convertible

Launched alongside the Q45 sedan in 1990, the 2-door M30 coupe was in production for just three years as an alternative to the Lexus SC. The powertrain offered was the VG30E engine and an automatic transmission. The M30 (coupe)has a stock weight of 3333 lb (1540 kg), yet only 162 hp (121 kW), creating an inadequate power to weight ratio for the intended image of a sport coupe. Unsurprisingly, the M30 convertible weighed even more, due to massive amounts of body and chassis reinforcements

In 1991, Infiniti introduced a third model, hoping to attract entry level luxury sedan buyers with the Infiniti G20, based on the Nissan Primera, essentially a luxury version of the Nissan Sunny with a leather interior package and the SR20DE DOHC 150 bhp (112 kW; 152 PS) engine with multi-port fuel injection for improved performance.

In 1992, for the 1993 model year, Infiniti introduced the edgeless and rounded J30, which again offered a single engine, the 210 hp VG30DE borrowed from the (222 hp 166 kW)300ZX, the JDM Nissan Cedric, Nissan Gloria and the Nissan Cima, and was the North American version of the third generation JDM Nissan Leopard.

1992 Infiniti J30

Infiniti sales were slow due to their introductory advertising efforts. The company's initial campaign aimed to bring about brand awareness with Zen-influenced spots that focused on nature and tranquility. However, the ads didn't show the actual cars, and many believe this omission did no favors for a company that was hoping to have buyers recognize and clamor for its vehicles. Infiniti also chose not to adorn the interiors with wood accents and chrome brightwork, opting for a monochrome appearance focusing on padded leather and vinyl throughout their vehicles. Some buyers had faux wood appliques added to areas surrounding the center console and around the interior door handles. Curiously, the only item that had a bright appearance was the centrally installed analog clock in all models, a tradition still maintained by Infiniti and now currently shared by other vehicles.

Mid-late 1990s

2002 Infiniti G20

By the mid-1990s, Infiniti was lagging behind Lexus and Acura in sales. The Q45 had retreated considerably from its focused, taut rendition of a sporty executive sedan, having become a barely recognizable, ponderously-handling sedan that earned the nickname "The Japanese Lincoln." In 1999, Infiniti revived the G20, based on the discontinued JDM Nissan Primera, a compact sport sedan whose production was halted for 1998 in Europe and Japan. The second generation G20 was marketed as a competitor to European entry level luxury sport sedans, but it now weighed more than the first generation version. Because Infiniti continued to use the SR20DE four cylinder engine and compact size, it fell short of sales expectations. The G20 was also marketed primarily to the wrong demographic, that being middle-aged professional women, and as such was not as popular new as its actual main competition, the similarly-priced Acura Integra.

1997-2000 Infiniti QX4

In 1997, Infiniti released the QX4, modifying and adding luxurious accommodations to the Nissan Pathfinder, choosing instead not to use the larger Nissan Safari. This made Infiniti one of the first makers (apart from SUV specialists, Jeep and Land Rover) to offer a mid-sized luxury SUV - predating the release of the Lexus RX 300, Acura MDX and the Mercedes-Benz ML320. The QX4 was released after Acura's introduction of the larger SLX (a rebadged Isuzu Trooper) and the Lexus LX (a rebadged Toyota Land Cruiser). Like a traditional SUV, it was based on a truck platform, which gave it a competitive edge against the aforementioned competitors for its off-roading abilities.

Infiniti replaced the J30 mid-sized rear drive sedan with the second generation JDM Nissan Cefiro giving it the North American designation I30 in 1996, but as with the J30, and M30, continued to offer only one under-powered engine, the 193 PS (142 kW; 190 hp) VQ30DE with front wheel drive shared with the Maxima. Infiniti made major changes to the I30 in terms of appearance and performance in 2002, upgrading the engine to the more powerful 231 PS (170 kW; 228 hp) VQ35DE which incurred a name change to the vehicle, calling it the I35. Unfortunately it didn't have the desired effect in terms of increased sales and the company, bereft of an image or a following, floundered.

2000s

2002-2004 Infiniti I35

By 2000, Infiniti was facing extinction. The company rededicated itself to developing a dynamic and powerful line-up of sporty luxury cars. Car and Driver reported that Infiniti executives invited members of the motoring press to a meeting where they "swore never again to take their eyes off BMW."[citation needed] Although this effort began with a completely redesigned Q45 flagship for the 2002 model year, it was the G35 that turned sales around for Infiniti in 2003. A sports sedan far exceeding the capabilities of its Nissan Primera-based predecessor (the G20), the Nissan Skyline-based G35 became an instant hit, named Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2003. The release of the sport-tuned FX35/45 crossover that same year piggybacked on the G35's success. The FX used the same components under the skin as the G35 sport coupe and was designed for American tastes. It combined sports-car handling and performance with station wagon-like versatility and all-weather capability. After a few years, a number of manufacturers began making similarly-styled vehicles, so Infiniti reclassified the FX as a Crossover utility vehicle (CUV). In 2004, Infiniti added an all-wheel drive version of the G35 sports sedan in an effort to sway buyers from similar all-wheel drive sports sedans from competitors Audi and BMW. Infiniti also decided to offer a larger SUV to compete with the Toyota Land Cruiser / Lexus LX470 by offering the Infiniti QX56 based on the USA market Nissan Armada in 2004.

2006 Infiniti FX

Infiniti's sales and reputation continue to rise as Carlos Ghosn follows through on his vision to break Infiniti away from its Nissan roots. The G35 series helped re-define Infiniti as the "Japanese BMW," an image it continues to cultivate. This reputation has been enhanced by the FX35/FX45 SUV, and the redesigned M35/M45 for the 2006 model year. The M35/M45 garnered impressive acclaim from the automotive press, winning an eight-car comparison test in Car and Driver and also named the best luxury sedan in Consumer Reports. The M45 model featured the same engine as the flagship Q45, and its success prompted Infiniti to remove the Q45 from its lineup for the first time ever in 2007, at which time the M45 became the flagship model. The Infiniti M (2003 - 2005) and the Infiniti G (starting in 2003) were known in Japan as the Nissan Gloria and the Nissan Skyline; the Gloria and Skyline were originally conceived by the Prince Motor Company in 1955 - 1957, which Nissan acquired in 1966.

2008 Infiniti G37 Sport

For the 2007 model year a redesigned version of the G35 sedan was introduced, followed in 2008 by a new version of the company's G coupe, the G37. The coupe was first unveiled at the New York International Auto Show. Also released in 2008 is the new Infiniti EX35 compact crossover, which is Infiniti's entry into the compact luxury crossover market. The EX shares the G35's 3.5 liter, 306 hp (228 kW), V6 engine. Competitors are the BMW X3, Land Rover LR2, and Acura RDX.

Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., unveiled Infiniti’s arrival in Europe at the Geneva Motor Show 2008.[2][3] The official launch is scheduled in the autumn of 2008 and will be phased over a two year period as Infiniti rolls out its operations across 21 European countries. Four models are offered in Europe: the next generation of the Infiniti FX37 and Infiniti FX50 performance SUV, the Infiniti G37, the Infiniti G37 coupe, and the Infiniti EX37 crossover. Infiniti Europe’s headquarters are based in Rolle, Switzerland.[4]

Models

Infiniti's model name designation includes one letter for coupés and sedans (two letters for SUVs) and a number reflecting engine displacement. For example, the QX56 is an SUV featuring a 5.6 L engine. An exception to this was the QX4 SUV, which featured a 3.3 L engine (1997-2000) and later a 3.5 L engine (2001-2003). An 'x' following the engine displacement of Infiniti sedans denotes an all wheel drive model (e.g. Infiniti G35x) while 's' denotes a sport package model on all models, and a 't' for a Touring model (older models only).

Current models

All current Infiniti coupes, sedans and crossovers are based on the Nissan FM platform. The center of the engine is placed behind the front wheels. This placement makes weight distribution more even, which is intended to improve braking, acceleration, and handling. It also reduces the polar moment of inertia. The only exception is the QX56 full-size SUV, which rides on the Nissan F-Alpha platform. Reports are that Infiniti will be delivering 2010 models to dealers in western Canada in the second week of January 2010.

Past models

Electric hybrid vehicles

Infiniti has presented its Infiniti Essence concept car, which previews the Japanese carmaker's future line of gasoline hybrid electric vehicles for Europe and the United States.[5]

Future vehicles

  • Infiniti M - An all new M sedan is slated for release for the 2011 model year. The 2011 Infiniti M is expected to come in M37 (330 hp, 270 ft·lbf, 3.7-liter V6 as seen on the 2008 Infiniti G37 coupe) and M56 (420 hp) variations. Release date: Early Spring 2010.
  • Hybrid versions of the G sedan, M sedan and FX.
  • Diesel versions of the M sedan, EX and FX. (Western Europe only)
  • Infiniti QX - An all new QX SUV is slated for release in the summer of 2010 as a 2011 model year vehicle. The 2011 Infiniti QX is expected to come in 2WD and AWD versions with a single all new 5.6 L V8 engine. This vehicle, unlike its predecessor, will be built in Japan and will be based on the Nissan Patrol.

Concept vehicles

-It included a 3.7L V6 gasoline engine with twin turbochargers rated 440 PS (434 hp/324 kW), an electric motor (called 3D Motor) rated 160 PS (158 hp/118 kW) and 500 N·m (369 lb·ft), with combined rating of 600 PS (592 hp/441 kW).

Motorsports

Infiniti Indy car next to a production Q45

In 1996 Infiniti decided they wanted to compete in the IRL. Infiniti had intents early on with being the first Japanese manufacturer to win the Indianapolis 500. The engine chosen for the Indy cars was a race variant of the VH45DE engine seen in the production Q45s. The Infiniti IRL program was quietly wrapped after the 2002 season after only a few wins. Although Infiniti never won the Indianapolis 500, technology trickled down to mass production and lessons learned on the track helped refine Nissan & Infinitis engine development across all channels.

References

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message