Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. announces today the Infiniti G37 will debut in convertible form during the coming fiscal year.

Last fall during the launch of the Infiniti EX35 cross/utility vehicle, Mark Igo, Infiniti vice president and general manager, told Ward’s that in addition to the new ’09 FX, Infiniti would launch a variant of an existing model.

Nissan says the convertible will debut in the U.S. next February.

The G37, with Nissan’s new 3.7L V-6 VQ series engine – winner of a Ward’s 10 Best Engine award in 2008 – has outpaced sales of its predecessor in the U.S.

Nissan data shows sales of the G37 were up 80.3% through April, while sales of the G35 sedan fell 15.3% in the period.

“The car really lends itself well to a convertible,” says analyst Erich Merkle of IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids, MI. “It doesn’t really look like a coupe – it has much more a sports car-like appearance to it.”

Based on its styling, Merkle believes the G37 could outperform competitors in annual volume, typically 4,000 units.

“I think (the G37) could be in excess of that, somewhere around 6,000 or 7,000 units as a convertible,” he says.

Nissan also announces eight other launches for fiscal 2008, started April 1. The new models include previously announced products such as the Infiniti FX, Nissan Maxima, Teana, Qashqai+2 and Cube.

Also listed is a “mini SUV,” which Nissan says will debut in Japan in late October.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com