Every Infiniti to be named Q or QX starting in 2014
Hunting for inspiration, the luxury automaker's president looks to his previous employer, Audi.
The idea, according to Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen, is to "promote consumer familiarity with our model range as we expand the portfolio." The letter Q, first used on the Q45 in 1989 -- a direct challenge to the brand-new Lexus LS400 -- led focus-group results as the most inspiring letter, the company said.
The full-size Q45, based on the Japanese-market Cima, has been out of production since 2006 and later morphed into the current M35 and M56; the Pathfinder-based QX4, which eventually ceded to the more popular Lexus RX, gave way in 2003. The 7-passenger QX56 SUV is the only "Q-car" now on sale. Infiniti's other models consist of the letters G, M, EX, FX and JX.
De Nysschen, who led Audi of America for 20 years out of the brand's worst years and toward its latest record sales, is convinced "Q" will do for Infiniti what "A" did for nearly every Audi model starting in the late 1990s. He joined Infiniti as president in July at the brand's new Hong Kong headquarters.
The new models will be renamed as follows, with "Q" for sedans and coupes and "QX" for crossovers and SUVs:
- Infiniti M becomes the Q70
- Infiniti G37 coupe and convertible become the Q60
- Infiniti QX56 becomes the QX80
- Infiniti FX becomes the QX70
- Infiniti JX becomes the QX60
- Infiniti EX becomes the QX50
A new G37 sedan, to be renamed the Q50, will debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Here's a visual breakdown, in case you're having trouble remembering (we sure are):
In recent years, Lincoln, Cadillac and Acura all switched to a similar alphabet soup after dropping lustworthy names such as Zephyr, Seville, DeVille, Legend and Vigor. Instead, our vision starts getting hazy every time we hear about the MKS, TSX, CTS, ILX, MKZ, RDX or the SRX. We drive and write about cars all year long, and we still forget which letters go with each manufacturer, let alone what each car actually looks like.
At least Lexus copied BMW and Mercedes-Benz from the start and hasn't changed its names. The LS and ES are luxury stalwarts that nearly everyone can remember.
The new model names are the least controversial move by De Nysschen, who in 2009 told MSN Autos that Chevrolet Volt buyers were "idiots" and that hybrids didn't make sense. Now, Audi is unleashing a whole herd of hybrids, as are Nissan and Infiniti.
This G37 owner has 1 question for Mr. De Nysschen… Why continue to follow the other US luxury car manufactures into the mediocre alphanumeric naming abyss, when you could differentiate yourself with a beautiful name like “Skyline”.
Personally, I too mourn the loss of real names. However, then someone like VW comes along with an idea for a name like Tiguan that reminds me why car companies like alphabet soup.
I don't mind the change at all and cannot understand why it would even be the slightest bit confusing. I have never confused any of the Lincoln MK models, nor have I confused any BMW, Mercedes, Audi or any other luxury maker you can name. It simply isn't that difficult to remember, but people will still complain simply to complain.
I have always liked the idea of traditional names for normal vehicles and alphanumeric names for luxury models.
Ironically, that is not for from the truth: one really has to be ignorant about cars and personal finances to buy a gasoline-electric hybrid.
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