’s Infiniti luxury division is launching a new naming strategy that will put the letter Q at the forefront of its vehicle lineup.
The move comes as the brand expands globally into new markets and looks to add new models to its showrooms at both ends of the price spectrum.
As of the ’14 model year, all car names will start with Q, beginning with a new sport sedan that replaces the G sedan and will be called the Q50. It will bow at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January and is expected to hit the market by midyear.
The former G coupe and convertible will be badged the Q60 going forward, while the M sedan will become the Q70.
Infiniti’s lineup of cross/utility vehicles and SUVs will be designated with QX in ’14, starting with the QX50 (formerly the EX) at the bottom of the range and topping out with the QX80, the current QX. In between will be the QX60, now the JX, and the bigger QX70 (the FX).
The auto maker says the switch will give the brand more clarity in the market and comes about after a months-long study and consultation with retailers, customers and business partners.
“We clearly needed a simple and consistent nomenclature framework,” says Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen. “After exhaustive research and evaluation, we concluded that Q captures the inspiration within the next generation of Infiniti models, as well as (emphasizes) our performance credentials while harking back to our heritage with the Q45 – Infiniti’s first iconic flagship product in 1989.”
The brand’s move into new global markets is a key force behind the renaming strategy, de Nysschen says.
“We’ve been a U.S.-centric brand, and the time has come to take a more global viewpoint,” he says in a conference call with media. “That means we have to expand our product lineup and our engine and transmission (offerings). We’re entering new markets where brand is not as well known, and it is important for people to understand more logically (the model names).”
De Nysschen says Infiniti plans to broaden its lineup above the current M-series sedan, as well as below the G-series lineup with premium compact sedans and CUVs that will appeal to younger buyers.
“In the next 10-15 years, we want to entrench Infiniti as a prominent manufacturer of luxury vehicles around the world,” he says.
In developing its new naming strategy, the brand also wanted to move away from numbers that signify engine displacement, de Nysschen says, partly because new, advanced technology powertrains and smaller engines will be employed in the future to meet tougher global fuel-economy and emissions regulations.
“Customers aren’t comfortable about being seen to be downgrading their vehicle,” he says of badging that might have included a lower number than the previous-generation car as engine size was reduced. However, secondary labeling on the vehicle will signal which powertrain is onboard.
Infiniti says the name change will take effect in stages as ’14 models are rolled out.