Jump to content
  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Afterthoughts: The Infiniti Identity

    Sign in to follow this  

      What is the identity of Infiniti?

    For the past week, I have been driving an Infiniti Q50 and for the most part, I have liked it. The model has the makings of an excellent compact luxury car with a powerful V6, expressive exterior, and a nice balance of sport and comfort for the ride. I don't even mind the direct-steer system which replaces many of the mechanical parts for an electrical system that turns the wheel based signals from the input on the wheel. But as I driving the Q50, I felt something was missing. It was only when I writing some notes on it that I figured out what was missing, an identity. Not only for the car, but for Infiniti itself.

     

    In psychology, identity is used to describe the items that make a person unique. Our little things and quirks that make us who are. For automakers, figuring out what they want to their identity to be is a crucial piece. Not only does it bring people into your showroom, but it also gives you a selling point. Something you can draw on in your promotions to the final sale.

     

    This is a key part for luxury automakers since identity is one of the main selling points. A luxury car is seen as a statement of identity - this is who I am and this is why I drive this car.

     

    For many luxury automakers, figuring out their identity is easy. Just off the top of my head, I was able to put an identity for most of the luxury players.

    • Audi: Modern Design
    • BMW: Driving
    • Mercedes-Benz: Quality
    • Jaguar: Luxury and Sport
    • Cadillac: The American BMW
    • Lincoln: American Luxury


    Trying to define the Japanese luxury automakers has and is still an issue. Lexus is the only one that you could say has an identity - luxury with reliability. Acura is hedging their bets on technology. But Infiniti hasn't been able to come with something they could say 'this is our identity'.

     


    Consider when Nissan was launching the brand back in 1989 to 1990. The first commercials showed forests and birds, but nothing about the car. It was hard to tell if Infiniti was a car or a nature preserve. Infiniti did change this with later ads, but there wasn't that hook. Something that could say 'I bought an Infiniti for this reason'.

     

    Now it seemed Infiniti was possibly going in the right direction when they brought on Johan de Nysschen back in 2012 to help get the company going in the right direction. Aside from the 'Q' nomenclature, de Nysschen brought a number of changes to the automaker; moving the headquarters to from Yokohama, Japan to Hong Kong; partnering with the Red Bull F1 racing team, setting up a number of studios around the globe, and creating the wild Q50 Eau Rouge which was rumored to go into production. It seemed that company was going in the right direction for creating an identity.

     

    Then in 2014, de Nysschen left to take on another automaker - Cadillac. Since then, plans for a high-performance Q50 has been shelved and it seems Infiniti is lost, wondering what their next move should. This isn't a good thing when it seems every other luxury competitor is passing you by.

     

    With two new models over the horizon - the Q30 and QX30 - Infiniti should take some time out and figure out who they are. Then they might have a real chance to make a stand in the marketplace.

     

    Maybe for some inspiration, they could watch this commercial for the J30 sedan.

     


    Sign in to follow this  


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    The thing is, pulling stunts does nothing to increase identity... and that's what the Eau Rouge, the Hong Kong move, and the Redbull team felt like... stunts.  None of it does anything to help forge an identity.... they may increase awareness, they may help image... but neither of these things are identity.  

     

    There was no commitment from Infiniti to follow through.  Does anyone remember the IPL trim?  It stood for Infiniti Performance something something.... it was a specially tuned VQ V6 that got you a massive 18 additional horsepower. You can only get the IPL option on the Q60 convertible for roughly $13k over the base convertible...   Infiniti sold 5. 

     

    Quick, what's the most identifiable Infiniti currently built.... remember you can't say G-series anymore.  The reality is that the next plausible answer is the badge engineered Infiniti Pathfinder..... I don't know the real name and can't be bothered to look it up.   That's the level of identity Infiniti has right now.... a semi-lux 4-door mini-van used primarily by real-estate ladies that no one can remember the name of and just refers to it by the Nissan equivalent name. 

     

    And that's a problem for Infiniti....

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Infinity problem starts with the name, there is nothing here to last for ever. They really do need a new reboot of name, badging, design language, etc.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Quick, what's the most identifiable Infiniti currently built.... remember you can't say G-series anymore.  The reality is that the next plausible answer is the badge engineered Infiniti Pathfinder..... I don't know the real name and can't be bothered to look it up.   That's the level of identity Infiniti has right now.... a semi-lux 4-door mini-van used primarily by real-estate ladies that no one can remember the name of and just refers to it by the Nissan equivalent name. 

     

    And that's a problem for Infiniti....

     

    I don't even think the QX60 is the most recognizable model (no, I didn't look that up. I saw one today). I think that honor falls to the QX80 (formally known as the QX56) because of its odd styling.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    Quick, what's the most identifiable Infiniti currently built.... remember you can't say G-series anymore.  The reality is that the next plausible answer is the badge engineered Infiniti Pathfinder..... I don't know the real name and can't be bothered to look it up.   That's the level of identity Infiniti has right now.... a semi-lux 4-door mini-van used primarily by real-estate ladies that no one can remember the name of and just refers to it by the Nissan equivalent name. 

     

    And that's a problem for Infiniti....

     

    I don't even think the QX60 is the most recognizable model (no, I didn't look that up. I saw one today). I think that honor falls to the QX80 (formally known as the QX56) because of its odd styling.

     

     

    I was referring more to what model comes to mind that is currently being built.  

     

    Say BMW and people will reply 3-series or 5-series

    Say Mercedes and people will reply S-Class.

    Say Audi and people will reply A4 or TT. 

    Say Cadillac and people will reply Escalade.

    Even say Lincoln and people will reply Navigator.

     

    "Oh, that Infiniti version of the Pathfinder" and "That big ugly SUV, QX something" aren't exactly ringing endorsements of brand identity.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Johan did nothing for Infiniti, changing names was a mistake, G37 was all they had.  It would be like Cadillac dropping Escalade for XT8. 

     

    Infiniti has no soul, no identity, their SUVs are just Nissans, they mostly just have that V6, which now everyone has a good V6.  They had that 420 hp V8 a few years back, haven't done anything with it since, the styling is boring and bland.  How hard is it to turbo an engine?  Turbo the VQ V6 and put 2 turbos on that V8.  Also no halo car, no flagship car, 1 hybrid that no one buys.  Poor product planning, no clear brand image, inconsistent marketing all left them drifting aimlessly.  And Johan is bringing that expertise to Cadillac, let's see if he learned anything.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Johan did nothing for Infiniti, changing names was a mistake, G37 was all they had.  It would be like Cadillac dropping Escalade for XT8. 

     

    Infiniti has no soul, no identity, their SUVs are just Nissans, they mostly just have that V6, which now everyone has a good V6.  They had that 420 hp V8 a few years back, haven't done anything with it since, the styling is boring and bland.  How hard is it to turbo an engine?  Turbo the VQ V6 and put 2 turbos on that V8.  Also no halo car, no flagship car, 1 hybrid that no one buys.  Poor product planning, no clear brand image, inconsistent marketing all left them drifting aimlessly.  And Johan is bringing that expertise to Cadillac, let's see if he learned anything.

    Plus keep in mind that Japan is all about being a team player and not rocking the boat. Most employees would go along with their boss who says this is awesome, the best, etc. I doubt anyone was willing to rock the boat and go against the upper executives who seem to be fine with the style, name, ultra conservative blah style of forgettable auto's.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Speaking of Infinitis, my next door neighbor had a deep maroon '13 QX56 for the last two years, it disspeared a month ago or so, replaced by a '15 Cadillac Escalade ESV...which disappeared after 2 weeks and now he's got a black QX80.  

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Speaking of Infinitis, my next door neighbor had a deep maroon '13 QX56 for the last two years, it disspeared a month ago or so, replaced by a '15 Cadillac Escalade ESV...which disappeared after 2 weeks and now he's got a black QX80.  

    WOW, he must like bland non inspiring autos. :puke:

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    Speaking of Infinitis, my next door neighbor had a deep maroon '13 QX56 for the last two years, it disspeared a month ago or so, replaced by a '15 Cadillac Escalade ESV...which disappeared after 2 weeks and now he's got a black QX80.  

    WOW, he must like bland non inspiring autos. :puke:

     

    His fiancee has a Toyota Sequoia for hauling their kids..I think the Escalade may be his wife's car.    (He has two houses in the neighborhood, he can't divorce his wife as she is the co-owner of his business).

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

     

    Speaking of Infinitis, my next door neighbor had a deep maroon '13 QX56 for the last two years, it disspeared a month ago or so, replaced by a '15 Cadillac Escalade ESV...which disappeared after 2 weeks and now he's got a black QX80.  

    WOW, he must like bland non inspiring autos. :puke:

     

    His fiancee has a Toyota Sequoia for hauling their kids..I think the Escalade may be his wife's car.    (He has two houses in the neighborhood, he can't divorce his wife as she is the co-owner of his business).

     

    WOW, so lives with new girl and still married to wife due to business? Interesting life.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have never understood the motivation to distill an automotive brand down to 2 words. Why box oneself in? And besides that; the exact same car can mean a multitude of things to different folk.

     

    More oversimplification / dumbing down of autos to the consumer, IE : "1/A/1A" means entry level, etc etc.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have never understood the motivation to distill an automotive brand down to 2 words. Why box oneself in? And besides that; the exact same car can mean a multitude of things to different folk.

     

    More oversimplification / dumbing down of autos to the consumer, IE : "1/A/1A" means entry level, etc etc.

    Today's marketing BS.

    Today's view that the brand is the focus more than the model.

     

    Eldorado is less than Cadillac. Cadillac is the key...

     

    1950s.

    - What do you drive?

    >Eldorado.

    - WOW! Just like Elvis!

    ( And everybody knew that not only an Eldorado was a Caddy, but they knew what was under the hood!)

     

    Today

    - What do you drive?

    > A Bimmer. Dont know what kind, but its a BMW.

    - I hear ya. Does it have the V6?

    >Na, its the V4...good on gas.

    Edited by oldshurst442
    • Upvote 2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I used to work with a guy that thought his BMW 540 had a V4 because it was a 540...

    A very real anecdote that represents my view quite accurately.

     

    Im sure he is glad to not have gone for the 535...a 3 cylinder powering a big car like that might have him questioning the slogan Ultimate Driving Machine.

     

    And I take it in Europe, in 1994, the 525 was a 2 cylinder two stroke. Or is that a 5 stroke because of the 5 at the end of the 525?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    ^ This is EXACT example of which I speak : dumbing things down to 1 or 2 (or 3) number/letters…. yet, incredibly, people are STILL confused! Does that mean OEMs should spoon-feed consumers with grade-school level advertising to 'splain' each of their 'systems'? I, for one, say NO!!" I say; give them "Eldorado" and let them sink or swim, as they may. But the current prevailing system only makes the (clueless) consumers AND the OEMs look like dolts.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    These true stories of Break My Wallet owners shed so much light on the level of fakery that permeates that whole culture.

    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




  • Similar Content

    • By Drew Dowdell
      Nissan Group reports April 2019 U.S. sales

       
      April 2019
      April 2018
      % chg
      Nissan Group Total sales (units)
      95,698
      87,764
      +9.0
      Nissan Division sales
      87,207
      78,804
      +10.7
      INFINITI sales*
      8,491
      8,960
      -5.2
       
      NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Group announced total U.S. sales for April 2019 of 95,698 units, an increase of 9 percent compared to the prior year.
      Nissan highlights:
      Nissan Altima sales grew 59 percent in April to 16,531 units. Pathfinder SUV sales increased 72 percent to 4,713 units. NV commercial van sales were up 22 percent year-on-year. Nissan Versa sales were up 12 percent in April. The all-new 2020 Versa sedan was revealed in April and will go on sale in summer 2019. *INFINITI sales total included for reference. For more information on INFINITI's April sales performance, please visit INFINITINews.com.
      NOTE: To ensure consistency in global sales reporting, Nissan North America calculates monthly variances on a straight-percentage basis, unadjusted for the number of selling days. April 2019 had 25 selling days, while April 2018 had 24 selling days.
      NISSAN DIVISION 
      APR
      APR
      Monthly
      CYTD
      CYTD
      CYTD
       
      2019
      2018
      % chg
      2019
      2018
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Nissan Division Total
      87,207
      78,804
      10.7
      418,743
      453,920
      -7.7
      Versa
      6,710
      5,998
      11.9
      31,702
      31,363
      1.1
      Sentra
      13,051
      16,999
      -23.2
      69,844
      77,001
      -9.3
      Altima
      16,531
      10,400
      59.0
      68,011
      73,806
      -7.9
      Maxima
      2,009
      2,100
      -4.3
      12,563
      15,854
      -20.8
      LEAF
      951
      1,171
      -18.8
      3,636
      3,716
      -2.2
      Juke
      1
      83
      -98.8
      10
      539
      -98.1
      370Z
      177
      260
      -31.9
      824
      1,243
      -33.7
      GT-R
      33
      35
      -5.7
      126
      170
      -25.9
      Total Car
      39,463
      37,046
      6.5
      186,716
      203,692
      -8.3
      Kicks
      3,503
      0
      n/a
      16,022
      0
      n/a
      Frontier
      4,258
      5,082
      -16.2
      24,479
      27,907
      -12.3
      Titan
      2,489
      2,670
      -6.8
      12,172
      15,394
      -20.9
      Pathfinder
      4,713
      2,741
      71.9
      22,067
      20,847
      5.9
      Armada
      1,917
      1,713
      11.9
      11,718
      10,795
      8.6
      Rogue
      24,159
      23,331
      3.5
      117,973
      139,785
      -15.6
      Murano
      3,476
      3,391
      2.5
      15,205
      24,113
      -36.9
      Quest
      0
      0
      n/a
      0
      2
      -100.0
      NV
      1,494
      1,225
      22.0
      6,001
      4,993
      20.2
      NV200
      1,735
      1,605
      8.1
      6,390
      6,392
      0.0
      Total Truck
      47,744
      41,758
      14.3
      232,027
      250,228
      -7.3
      North American produced
       
      60,573
      -100.0
       
      341,097
      -100.0
      Car
       
      36,668
      -100.0
       
      201,740
      -100.0
      Truck
       
      23,905
      -100.0
       
      139,357
      -100.0
      Import
       
      18,231
      -100.0
       
      112,823
      -100.0
      Car
       
      378
      -100.0
       
      1,952
      -100.0
      Truck
       
      17,853
      -100.0
       
      110,871
      -100.0
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      INFINITI
      APR
      APR
      Monthly
      CYTD
      CYTD
      CYTD
       
      2019
      2018
      % chg
      2019
      2018
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Infiniti Total
      8,491
      8,960
      -5.2
      42,806
      49,847
      -14.1
      Infiniti Q50
      2,174
      1,880
      15.6
      10,438
      13,581
      -23.1
      Infiniti Q60
      425
      650
      -34.6
      1,729
      3,253
      -46.8
      Infiniti Q70
      345
      272
      26.8
      1,307
      1,763
      -25.9
      Infiniti QX30
      232
      671
      -65.4
      1,809
      3,486
      -48.1
      Infiniti QX50
      1,513
      1,413
      7.1
      5,096
      5,497
      -7.3
      Infiniti QX60
      2,773
      3,052
      -9.1
      15,603
      15,076
      3.5
      Infiniti QX70
      0
      102
      -100.0
      6
      672
      -99.1
      Infiniti QX80
      1,029
      920
      11.8
      6,818
      6,519
      4.6
      Total Car
      2,944
      2,802
      5.1
      13,474
      18,597
      -27.5
      Total Truck
      5,547
      6,158
      -9.9
      29,332
      31,250
      -6.1
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      NISSAN GROUP
      APR
      APR
      Monthly
      CYTD
      CYTD
      CYTD
       
      2019
      2018
      % chg
      2019
      2018
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      TOTAL VEHICLE
      95,698
      87,764
      9.0
      461,549
      503,767
      -8.4
      Total Car
      42,407
      39,848
      6.4
      200,190
      222,289
      -9.9
      Total Truck
      53,291
      47,916
      11.2
      261,359
      281,478
      -7.1
      Selling days
      25
      24
       
      101
      101
       
                    # # #
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The QX50 was billed as the most important product in Infiniti's lineup this decade, however sales have not met expectations. Year to date sales through March for the QX50 were just 3,583 units. This contrasts starkly with the 12,830 units the larger and more expensive QX60 moved in the same time frame.
      President of Infiniti Christian Meunier blamed the weak sales on a poor launch of the car due to production issues and a mix of product positioned too high in the market.  Infiniti is in the process of correcting the error with a new trim level and more options on the lower trim levels. 
      The Infiniti QX50 is assembled at a new plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico run as a join venture between Nissan Motor Company and Daimler.  The plant has suffered from quality control issues and other production problems. 
      Infiniti expect sales of the QX50 to turn around during the summer once the supply chain issues are sorted.

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The QX50 was billed as the most important product in Infiniti's lineup this decade, however sales have not met expectations. Year to date sales through March for the QX50 were just 3,583 units. This contrasts starkly with the 12,830 units the larger and more expensive QX60 moved in the same time frame.
      President of Infiniti Christian Meunier blamed the weak sales on a poor launch of the car due to production issues and a mix of product positioned too high in the market.  Infiniti is in the process of correcting the error with a new trim level and more options on the lower trim levels. 
      The Infiniti QX50 is assembled at a new plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico run as a join venture between Nissan Motor Company and Daimler.  The plant has suffered from quality control issues and other production problems. 
      Infiniti expect sales of the QX50 to turn around during the summer once the supply chain issues are sorted.
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Infiniti's Qs Inspiration sedan that was teased a few days ago has leaked out ahead of the Shanghai Motor Show.  The Inspiration Qs is a preview of what an Infiniti electric car will look like. 
      The EV that comes from the Qs Inspiration's ..er.. inspiration will be manufactured and sold in China in about 3 years.  There are no plans yet to export that car to other markets.  Infiniti has said that by 2021 all newly launched models will be EVs or "e-Power" hybrids. 
      For the Qs Inspiration, designer Karim Habib had a freer hand in the design as EVs do not have the bulk of the mechanicals the accompany internal combustion engines.  Floors can be flat and interior room can be greatly increased.  
      Infiniti will be competing with Tesla, Audi, Polestar, and others in the EV race in China.
      We'll have more for you once the official release of the Infiniti Qs Inspiration concept is made in Shanghai.
       

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Infiniti's Qs Inspiration sedan that was teased a few days ago has leaked out ahead of the Shanghai Motor Show.  The Inspiration Qs is a preview of what an Infiniti electric car will look like. 
      The EV that comes from the Qs Inspiration's ..er.. inspiration will be manufactured and sold in China in about 3 years.  There are no plans yet to export that car to other markets.  Infiniti has said that by 2021 all newly launched models will be EVs or "e-Power" hybrids. 
      For the Qs Inspiration, designer Karim Habib had a freer hand in the design as EVs do not have the bulk of the mechanicals the accompany internal combustion engines.  Floors can be flat and interior room can be greatly increased.  
      Infiniti will be competing with Tesla, Audi, Polestar, and others in the EV race in China.
      We'll have more for you once the official release of the Infiniti Qs Inspiration concept is made in Shanghai.
       
  • Social Stream

  • Who's Online (See full list)

  • My Clubs

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×
×
  • Create New...