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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.

By Exhaust Notes Dec 18, 2012 9:30AM
Infiniti will rename all of its models to begin with "Q" or "QX" starting in 2014, a marketing push that will no doubt cause even more alphanumeric confusion among luxury car brands.

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.

[Source: Infiniti]

Dec 18, 2012 10:01AM
Horrible move.  Current structure makes far more sense, especially when it comes to numbering.  With the current structure at least, we can identify that the G as the lower/smaller model, with the 25 or 37 representing the displacement (2.5l or 3.7l engine), or such as the FX being the mid line suv below the JX and QX, with the 37 or 50 as the identifier for the 3.7l engine or the bigger 5.0l engine.    We've identified with this alpha-numeric system from Infiniti for years.  You're trying to accomplish the  very same confusing structure that Lincoln has done with the "M" naming convention which is absolute confusing to a consumer...I still can't tell you which "M" represents the cars, and which represents the crossover for Lincoln, and I'm a crazy car nut.
Dec 21, 2012 7:05PM

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”. 

Dec 19, 2012 6:02AM
I actually think this is brilliant.  It decouples the names from engine displacements.  Lately engine sizes have been going down.  However, marketeers hate to lower the numbers on the trunk.  This is where we get BMW 328i's with 2.0L turbo engines, BMW 335i's with 3.0L turbo engines, and Mercedes-Benz S550's with 4.7L turbo engines.  This scheme has worked well for Audi (A1,A2,A3,A4,A5,A6,A7,A8,Q3,Q5,Q7).

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.

Dec 18, 2012 10:14AM

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.

Dec 18, 2012 9:52AM
"The new model names are the least controversial move by De Nysschen, who in 2009 that Chevrolet Volt buyers were and that hybrids didn't make sense."

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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