Infiniti staying ahead of the Q
FIRST OF A NEW Q GENERATION: Infiniti's new Q50, unveiled at the 2013 Detroit auto show, will be the first of the makers current models to hold the Q moniker.
DETROIT, Michigan - How do you accent a name that's bigger than anything? Add a quotient of "Q".
That's what premium automaker Infiniti - what Lexus is to Toyota - is doing as it tries to storm the well-defined bastion of German luxury automakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Infiniti is rebadging its line of high-end cars with a letter "Q" to lead each model name, starting with the dashing Q50 launched on January 14 at the Detroit auto show, replacing a confusing list including several G models, the M, the GX and FX. In fact, the Q is not new - the Infiniti Q45 was sold in South Africa some years ago.
In future, said Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen, all models will be a number prefixed Q, or QX for sport utility vehicles - presumably for X-country.
The number that follows will rank the vehicles by cost and quality, rather than, for instance, engine size.
This will allow the Nissan unit to develop a more uniform brand and a broader naming range as it builds its identity in an effort to push into the ranks of the top luxury car builders.
"Actual names don't denote hierarchy. The hierarchy is important for premium brands," Nysschen, who took control of the unit in 2012, said. The problem was that there were no names available that were lower-ranked than G and higher-ranked than M.
"If you use G for this car, what is an M?" he said, pointing to a picture of the new Q50. The company has roots in Q - its Q45 is the classic Infiniti. It's the only heritage we have, the 'Q' Belongs to Infiniti."
Well, not quite. Audi, where Nysschen used to work, also uses Q, but only has a lock on Q1 through Q9.
He then can use any number above that - so essentially, anywhere from Q to, er infinity...
According to Nissan SA the Infiniti Q50 will be on South African shores by September 2013.Follow the Detroit auto show with Wheels24 on our Detroit show section.