Infiniti raised more than a few eyebrows when it announced plans to follow a strategy it described as Nissan-Plus. Although this term suggests the brand's image will be dangerously watered down, its chief executive stressed its flag will remain firmly planted in the luxury car segment as he outlined what to expect in the coming years.
The executive team led by Infiniti boss Peyman Kargar will reboot the company with a focus on profitability. "Premium brands should bring more money to the company, so that's the objective. We are not at the level we want to be," he told Automotive News. Several new products are on their way, including a crossover with a fastback-like roofline named QX55, and Kargar clarified many future models will ride on an architecture shared with parent company Nissan. It will be compatible with gasoline-powered, hybrid and electric drivetrains.
He explained sharing platforms and components is necessary to save money because the company, like its peers and rivals, is spending a small fortune on developing electrified, autonomous, and connected technology. The shift will likely spell the end of the driver-friendly rear-wheel drive platform found under the Q50 and the Q60, but don't expect Infiniti to put its emblem on, say, a Sentra, and call it a day. It will remain a luxury brand.
"The objective is to use these assets of the company, and then to reinject the money we are saving into the luxury experience and ingredients of Infiniti. We will put more money into Infiniti's future, but this money will come from the savings in globalized platforms," Kargar explained. The strategy he's outlining is one many of the firm's competitors have already adopted. Lexus, Acura, and Audi all build cars using parts sourced from their respective parent company. Lamborghini's Urus is related to the Volkswagen Touareg under the sheetmetal.
Kargar noted every upcoming new model will be defined by an overhauled design language. We don't know if recent concept cars (like the QX Inspiration introduced in Detroit in 2019; pictured) will influence its upcoming vehicles. However, its future cars will offer nicer interiors, more user-friendly infotainment systems, and they'll receive tech features before Nissan's variants get them, which, oddly, hasn't always been the case in recent years.
Infiniti's turn-around will start in 2020, when the aforementioned QX55 makes its debut after a brief delay. Automotive News added the next-generation QX60 will arrive in 2021, likely as a 2022 model, and it will be built on the same bones as Nissan's next Pathfinder. Hybrid models equipped with an evolution of Nissan's gasoline-electric e-Power technology will arrive in 2023, and at least one electric model is under development.
"I saw the products — four years of coming products. They are absolutely great; the technology we are going to put in them is absolutely great. And, it's really a luxury experience. We're not going to downsize the brand," Kargar concluded. It sounds like better days are around the corner for those patient enough to wait for them.