North America Inc.'s Infiniti luxury brand will debut the next-generation G35 lineup at the New York Auto Show in April.
Jed Connelly, senior vice president-sales and marketing, NNA, tells Ward's the '07 midsize luxury sedan and coupe will take the vehicle “to the next level. We're thrilled with it,” he says.
Current Infiniti G35
The midsize luxury car has been a brand-defining product for the Infiniti range in the U.S. Following its March 2002 debut, Infiniti sales went from 52,630 units in 2001 to 70,973 in 2002, with the G35 accounting for 34,775 vehicles.
Sales of the G35 stand at 57,521 units through October, down 2.1% from the same period year-ago, according to Ward's data.
Despite debuting just three and half years ago, the G35 has aged fast as restyled entrants, such as the Lexus IS and3-Series, have stolen some of its market share.
“It's nice that in three short years other people have seen us as the target (competition),” Connelly says.
He declines to describe specific changes to the G35's new styling, but says, “We understand what we have is a really good thing, and we're going to be careful with it,” indicating the '07 G35's looks won't be too radical a departure from the '03 model.
Meanwhile, Connelly saysplans to show a refreshed Quest minivan at February's Chicago Auto Show.
The '07 model, which will get a restyled interior, complete with new instrument panel, should help boost the vehicle's sales, which have slipped 12% calendar-year-to-date.
Connelly blames a stagnant minivan segment and tough competition for softening sales, adding early quality issues – and not its styling – also have played a role in the Quest's under-performance in the U.S. market.
Another divisively styled vehicle, the Infiniti FX cross/utility, will get a refresh next year, with the '06 model going on sale in January.
Connelly blames tough competition in the growing midsize luxury CUV segment for the FX's January-October 11.3% sales decline, not faulting its edgy styling. (See related story: Midsize Luxury CUVs Struggle to Find Success)
“I think the styling is the strength of the vehicle,” he says of the FX. “We realized when we built the vehicle that it was polarizing. You either love it or hate it, but that is what you want. That is what we wanted anyway.”