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View Poll Results: Should Nissan kill Infiniti?
Yes, they have haven't been relevant for years. 67 75.28%
No, there is still hope left. 22 24.72%
Voters: 89. You may not vote on this poll

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      08-05-2020, 11:39 PM   #1
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Today I stumbled across an article from C/D talking about Infiniti teasing for the 3rd time the new QX55 SUV. If you don't know what the 55 means welcome to the club. This is essentially a coupe-suv version of the QX50, it was supposed to be released last year but no one knows why its become so delayed, but I assume it has to do with the whole Nissan-Ghosn controversy.

Anyways, this got me to thinking, "Why the hell does Infiniti still exist?" Seriously, why? They have zero, and I mean zero interesting products in their line up. I won't speak much about the 90's but rather start with their golden era: the 2000's. Back in the 2000's with the G, M and FX, they were an underdog brand, someone to root for success. Their cars drove beautifully, and put Infiniti on the market. Unlike most Lexus or Acura cars that shared their platforms with their conventional brand's FWD econoboxes, Infiniti had used the FM platform from their 350Z to create RWD Sport Luxury Sedans, and two Crossovers. I use to refer to Infiniti as the Japanese BMW. They weren't as stylish or luxurious as the BMW or Benz competition, but they were excellent driver's cars with nice interior finishes that weren't available at the lower end Nissan level, and above all else boasted Japanese quality and reliability (well, except for maybe the first gen automatics...). In the 2000's I was recommending Infiniti to everyone, a stark contrast from today.

The excellent compact G sedan and coupe are now the Q50 and Q60. They look excellent, but inside use decade old software, include an incredibly bad steer-by-wire system (the worst in the industry) which removes all feel and is incredibly hard to place on the road, and excellent handling is gone, along with the decent reliability. It wasn't only until recently that Apple Carplay was even offered among very little meaningless updates.

The M, the mid-sized 5/E competitor soldiered on for 10 years without any interesting updates. It was discontinued last year with no successor in sight. The FX, arguably one of the first sporty "coupe-like" styled SUV's suffered the same fate as the M.

The EX, which was essentially a G hatchback on stilts, is now a beautiful SUV, but my god what have they done to the platform. It went from RWD, Naturally-Aspirated and great handling to being based off the rental Rogue! Even worse they paired it to the infamously unreliable and infuriating Jatco CVT. The interior design improved but again they used the Q50's old software while even the most basic of Nissan's received better tech, and paired it with the steer-by-wire system. And the Variable-Compression engine, a unique engineered engine, fails at its one goal, MPG, which a basic X3 or GLC can easily beat.

Other forgettable vehicles in the lineup include the recently discontinued QX30, aka the MB GLA in better sheetmetal but still arguably a s**t car, the QX 60 midsized SUV, which is a decade old Pathfinder that also shares old tech, unreliable transmissions and generic interior that couldn't bother to be different from its Nissan sibling, and lastly the QX80, also a decade old, although at least RWD and truck based, but horribly dated full-size SUV.

And then we have the naming convention. Alpha-numeric names are already forgettable as it is, but the G, M and FX were at least memorable after they established themselves in the market. So once they finally established themselves you know what they did? They changed everything, and moved to Q for sedans and QX for SUV's. This is pretty much as bad as Cadillac's naming scheme, not to mention throws out many nameplates people resonate or remember for new ones they couldn't possibly care for.

It seems all Infiniti has left for its lineup is fleet sales and low lease payments, but again they can't even increase their sales in a SUV obsessed market, which just shows the market simply doesn't care for Infiniti, hell, they can't even spell the name correctly.

And even worse is the concepts. Infiniti has surprisingly brought many concept cars to stage within the last decade, two of which were actually very exciting vehicles, ones to bring hope for those who lost it, and possibly a return of the handling magic that Infiniti's use to include. All of these have yet to actually become a production vehicle, and likely never will. The Eau Rogue, an M3 fighting sports sedan with 500+ hp and a powertrain from the GTR premiered, even had press drives with C/D simply stating "build it, please," never reached production. The Q60 Black S, a sports coupes that would take on the M4 with 500+ hp and F1 tech, never reached production. There was even an electric car concept, that literally failed to make it on stage. Seriously the car wouldn't start and could not drive on stage. If there was ever an embarrassing moment that sums up Nissan/Infiniti as a whole, this would be it. On Infiniti's website there are three concept cars which are simply just the QX 50 and QX 80 which makes we wonder if they even bothered updating the website after all these years, and then there are four others also which will likely cease to exist.

So, what does the future hold for Nissan and Infiniti? Honestly things look pretty bleak. Before Corona they were struggling and this will just make things even worse. They have pulled Infiniti out of Europe, and Nissan is now structuring Infiniti as a "Nissan-Plus" brand and cutting off workers, and 10% of the company lineup. Search Infiniti in automotive news and its hard to find a positive article, the first seven searches on Jalopnik brought me these articles, all of which do not put a good light on Nissan, and the articles were all written within a year.

At this point, Nissan should just put Infiniti out of their misery.

https://jalopnik.com/infiniti-is-get...med-1838822316
https://jalopnik.com/yep-infiniti-go...med-1840829250
https://jalopnik.com/nissans-restruc...bus-1843822881
https://jalopnik.com/its-infinitis-3...-it-1839724145
https://jalopnik.com/infiniti-doesnt...ity-1844043636
https://jalopnik.com/infiniti-quits-europe-1833235368
https://jalopnik.com/nissan-thinks-i...lan-1840013309

Curious to hear your thoughts on Infiniti/Nissan as a brand, as well as if you had any experience with the failing brands.

Some reminders of the good ol' days of Infinti.
[IMG]https://cdn.motor-junkie.com/wp-cont...5-coupe-9.jpeg[/IMG]

[IMG]https://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/i..._oem_1_500.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]https://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/i..._1_600x263.jpg[/IMG]

Edit: Mods fix typo in the poll.
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      08-05-2020, 11:48 PM   #2
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FX design was epic. What a shame they never made a successor. Current Mazda SUVs look a lot like the old FX.
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      08-06-2020, 12:21 AM   #3
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Infiniti had some MOJO going on back in the early 2000's.
It's really sad to see where they are at now.

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      08-06-2020, 12:51 AM   #4
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A lot have happened last year, and the brand failed to keep up with the competition.
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      08-06-2020, 01:06 AM   #5
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I owned several Infiniti’s in my life time including the g35 coupe, g37 sedan, q50 sedan, and lastly qx60 SUV. The best by far was the 2006 G35 coupe 6mt. Drove nice and was amazing to look at. They have never been the same since and I will likely not own one again.
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      08-06-2020, 03:33 AM   #6
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I agree with some of the comments. Infiniti seemed to be an ascending luxury brand and I really loved the G35 Coupe, much more than the 350z especially as a 911 fighter. It was very nice at the time. I still see nice examples on the road and admire them.

I think where Nissan/Infiniti went down was they really didn’t keep up. Their engines didn’t dramatically increase output as this second horsepower war has emerged and as stated above, their infotainment and other tech simply lagged the competitors like Lexus and the a German brands. There was a time I would have chosen a G coupe over a Porsche due to the luxury and value but it’s really no contest now. The revised VQ engine which was smooth in earlier iterations is now buzzy and more harsh. It’s not hard to see where they went wrong when you look at the 350z to 370z evolution. While still a great looking car, they milked that platform to the point it barely sells anymore.
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      08-06-2020, 08:06 AM   #7
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Talking about the wife's daily drivers, we had the '03 G35 sedan, then six years later, replaced it with the '09 G37 sedan. The G35 was a really enjoyable handling and performing sports sedan. Both of us loved driving it. The G37, while a nice car, it just didn't measure up to the driving pleasure of the 35. Both gave solid service, but because of the G37's heavier (dumber, less nimble) road manners, we didn't even go back to look at a Q. Now with their commitment to the CVT, I've no interest whatsoever. Should add and agree with others their styling has suffered. The G35 was beautiful, the 37 not so much, the current stuff, no reason to look twice.
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      08-06-2020, 09:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3798j View Post
Talking about the wife's daily drivers, we had the '03 G35 sedan, then six years later, replaced it with the '09 G37 sedan. The G35 was a really enjoyable handling and performing sports sedan. Both of us loved driving it. The G37, while a nice car, it just didn't measure up to the driving pleasure of the 35. Both gave solid service, but because of the G37's heavier (dumber, less nimble) road manners, we didn't even go back to look at a Q. Now with their commitment to the CVT, I've no interest whatsoever. Should add and agree with others their styling has suffered. The G35 was beautiful, the 37 not so much, the current stuff, no reason to look twice.
I actually find they're newer cars to be quite good looking. The G35/37 never really won me in terms of design (although the coupe did improve upon the sedan) and I find the old 35's have not aged as well, but with the Q50/60 they look really good, sadly everything else is terrible. Same with the M, I liked the final generation more than the early ones, and the QX50 is quite a good looking SUV although like the Q50 is terrible everywhere else
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      08-06-2020, 09:51 AM   #9
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I bought an 2003 G35 Coupe 6MT when they first came out, and it was by far (imo) the best looking car in the class. It drove well, exhaust sound stock was amazing (still is), and performed well. Loved that car! Have never looked back at a Nissan or Infiniti since.
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      08-06-2020, 10:04 AM   #10
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Agreed. Infiniti—and Nissan as a whole—have completely lost their way. Their products are so stale and uninteresting. Such a shame because Nissan/Infiniti used to be so good back in the 90s and early 2000s. Since then it’s like they just stopped showing up to work.

As the lines between mainstream and luxury continue to blur, I think it would be wise for Nissan to ditch Infiniti and completely rebrand itself. Get back to the days when the Maxima and Murano were enviable fringe-luxury cars.
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      08-06-2020, 10:13 AM   #11
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Infiniti is rightfully on its death bed. I came from a G37 and briefly considered Q50s with the VR30 when looking for a new car. I know they refreshed the interior in 2018, but the fact that 2016s had the same interior as a 2007 G35 is just embarrassing. Even in 2020 models, they are still using the same slow 7 speed from the G37. And worst of all they completely killed the driving feel with the new drive-by-wire steering.
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      08-06-2020, 10:19 AM   #12
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More "stop liking what I don't like"

If you don't like em don't buy em.
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      08-06-2020, 10:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mason Hatcher View Post
More "stop liking what I don't like"

If you don't like em don't buy em.
Clearly a lot of people don't like them. They are struggling with sales (before Covid) and have a dated lineup. There is no reason to like anything Infiniti does anymore. I use to love the brand but they have simply given up on trying at this point.
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      08-06-2020, 10:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhumr View Post
Agreed. Infiniti—and Nissan as a whole—have completely lost their way. Their products are so stale and uninteresting. Such a shame because Nissan/Infiniti used to be so good back in the 90s and early 2000s. Since then it’s like they just stopped showing up to work.

As the lines between mainstream and luxury continue to blur, I think it would be wise for Nissan to ditch Infiniti and completely rebrand itself. Get back to the days when the Maxima and Murano were enviable fringe-luxury cars.
You mean using basically the same engine design for 15-20 years?

The VQ could have been so much more. But, it is reliable enough and they made a fuck ton of them. My buddies use one in their lemons car. Always a yard with another one close by.
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      08-06-2020, 10:48 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jmack View Post
Infiniti is rightfully on its death bed. I came from a G37 and briefly considered Q50s with the VR30 when looking for a new car. I know they refreshed the interior in 2018, but the fact that 2016s had the same interior as a 2007 G35 is just embarrassing. Even in 2020 models, they are still using the same slow 7 speed from the G37. And worst of all they completely killed the driving feel with the new drive-by-wire steering.
The drive-by-wire has to be the worst steering I've ever experienced. Seriously bad. My neighbor's wife had leased Infiniti G's since the 2003 model and had gotten into a Q50 after her 2nd G37 (which she loved) and was not happy. She wasn't a car person but liked power and tight handling and could not stand the steering, she said it was so bad she hit so many curbs when parking, she just could not tell what the steering was doing. She called her sales manager and they switched her back into a Q40 (which was a G37 with different badging), she decided to buy out the car and says it will be her last Infiniti. I have a feeling many passionate Infiniti owners feel the same way she does.
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      08-06-2020, 11:17 AM   #16
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Worked on a G37 recently doing a brake job. The fact you need to unbolt a suspension arm to gain access to the caliper bracket to get the rear rotor off is enough for me to swear them off.
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      08-06-2020, 12:14 PM   #17
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Nissan/Infiniti had something good going in the early 2000s with the FM (Front-Midship) platform that was a modular RWD based platform sharing the VQ and VK engine family. Not only did the modular aspect address financial concerns in the wake of the crisis Nissan faced internally, but it also was a good recipe for nice RWD cars that could be leveraged by the Infiniti brand.

The products that came out of the FM platform: the Nissan 350Z, Infiniti G35, and Infiniti FX35 in particular, were highly successful models and all except the latter were available with manual transmissions and performance configurations (i.e., Brembo brakes, RAYS wheels) from the factory.
No, it wasn't Evo or STI types of performance nor was it a raw visceral S2000 type experience but it catered to a little more of that JDM sports GT oriented concept.

I've said this many times since the late 2000s but where Nissan/Infiniti missed their golden opportunity was with the GT-R.
The GT-R was a based on the PM (Premium-Midship) platform, which was really just a further development of the FM platform and the VR engine's block was ultimately built off of the VQ architecture (VQ35HR) as a starting point.

There were several key mistakes to the whole GT-R project, development, and marketing that in retrospect came at the expense of the Infiniti brand:
A) Nissan developed and positioned the GT-R to perform way out of its league (as a brand) and targeted the 911 Turbo instead of the category where it would've naturally shined & helped with brand development which is to compete in the premium sports (i.e., BMW M3, CLK AMG, 911 Carrera, RS4) segment.
B) The decision to badge and sell as a Nissan instead of Infiniti
C) The reluctance to trickle-down engine/drivetrains to the Infiniti brand to allow other higher premium performance models to exist.

The GT-R marque, by all accounts, is an iconic car to the Nissan brand.
I completely understand why the final decision was made to badge it as a Nissan globally and why they would want to shoot for the stars and make this 'supercar killer' for less than half the price of those cars. It was a pride issue for them, but this pride is also what cost them their future in the premium space.

The GT-R originally was just a high-performance version of the Nissan Skyline, which was a sort of premium sedan/coupe with RWD or rear-biased RWD and an Inline-6 engine in higher-spec models.
The Skyline coupes & sedans sound a lot like a perfect BMW 3 Series competitor to me.
And that's exactly what they did with the launch of the new V35 Skyline in the 2000s, which launched as the Infiniti G35. Gone was the Inline 6 (replaced by a V6) but you still had a relatively balanced FR platform with sporty characteristics.

Naturally, you would think that the GT-R performance variant of the Skyline would take that up a couple of notches and be able to compete with the likes of BMW M3s.
But this is where Nissan got too ambitious.
The Playstation & Need for Speed generation had high expectations.
They were used to tuning Skyline GT-Rs in video games to 1000 HP overnight that would eat supercars for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Nissan thought there's no way they would accept anything short of a car that would outperform the best supercars from Europe.

And with that, the decision was made to split the GT-R from the Skyline (Infiniti G35).
Yes, the GT-R would be loosely based on the same platform as the G35's FM platform, but would basically be an entirely different car in a completely different league.
Still, an Infiniti GTR as a halo would still provide the perfect boost to the brand.
What Infiniti needed during the 2000s was that icing on the cake.
It was finally gaining traction and respect as a real premium contender after being that awkward turtle left behind in the 90s (when its competitors Acura & Lexus took off).
Car enthusiasts in North America always ridiculed the likes Acura for badging icons like the NSX and Integra Type R as Acuras instead of Hondas, but it's effective in several ways from a marketing and brand building perspective:
1) it's effective as a performance halo for the brand, cementing the performance/premium/quality image into the customer mind, and
2) it creates a better buying/ownership experience for the customer who is spending a lot more money on the NSX than somebody buying a Civic. This exclusivity and premium experience sounds snobbish but it's the experience that sticks with these high-paying customers. The training, service, and distribution model that goes with dealing with a premium customer is different than a customer looking for 0% APR, a good warranty, and fuel economy.

Imagine if the LF-A came badged as a Toyota. It just wouldn't make sense...for someone selling a Prius to offer the same experience. It just wouldn't make sense to train the dealership's mechanics who do 4-cyl oil changes all day to all of a sudden deal with a dry-sumped V10.

So when Nissan decided to badge the GT-R exclusively as a Nissan worldwide, it basically made a conscious decision to orphan the Infiniti brand, its dealers, its distribution network, its mechanics, its entire brand.
I remember the articles and news surrounding the dismay of Infiniti dealers.
How could such a great opportunity be wasted?
It's not like enthusiasts wouldn't know it's a Nissan anyway.

But alas, that's what happened. And for years, Nissan withheld the VR engine family & DCT from further development outside of the GT-R.
With an aging drivetrain lineup, the Infiniti brand had to use the same recycled VQ and slushboxes until very recently when a smaller displacement VR30DETT turbocharged V6 was finally allowed to exist, but by then it was way behind the curve as the Germans (namely BMW) already had several generations of turbocharged 6-cyl development under its belt.

So Nissan really has nobody to blame but themselves.
They knowingly neglected their Infiniti brand to protect their beloved GT-R, its name, its drivetrain, its street cred.
Perhaps GT-R enthusiasts are happy that it didn't get 'watered down', but it comes at a cost to business.
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      08-06-2020, 12:15 PM   #18
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Bought a G35 a few years back, actually traded it for me E93. It looked cool. Interior felt cheap, car was not fast at all, and had problems with the brake system the entire time I had the car. This is ultimately why I traded it. The pros: I got tons of compliments on how slick the car was. (It was completely murdered out. There wasn't a square inch of that car that wasn't black. It also sat on 20" Lorenos)

Very cool looking car. It impressed the ladies. That was about it.
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      08-06-2020, 12:32 PM   #19
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The Infinity is the next Scion or the Saturn of Nissan. It never got to the same dealership level of Lexus. Similar to Scion which was once an offbeat brand of Toyota which didn't last very long.

I still remember when Infinity first marketed it by showing nothing but an emblem.

I also think it will be comical once Renault/Nissan decide to shut down this Infinity brand. Too bad it's such an ambitious name for a finite car company.
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      08-06-2020, 01:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmack View Post
I know they refreshed the interior in 2018, but the fact that 2016s had the same interior as a 2007 G35 is just embarrassing.
I thought you were joking so I looked up some pictures and wtf. Theyreally just went and tweaked a few panels and trimmings and called it done didnt they
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      08-06-2020, 01:33 PM   #21
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Nissan needs a place to house their upcoming premium EVs, and using Infiniti for that purpose would probably be less risky and more economical than coming up with some new brand.

I agree that all (or most, at any rate) of the current Infiniti models could disappear today and no one would care or even notice. Theoretically, they can use that fact to their advantage. Sales volume might even be approaching levels such that there's no real point in trying to walk the tight rope between growing EV sales while not hurting ICE sales. Just let the latter dwindle as they have been. Nissan-Renault has some valuable EV tech and could potentially build a compelling lineup, including premium EVs. Might as well go all in at this point.
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      08-06-2020, 01:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henrylee View Post
I owned several Infiniti’s in my life time including the g35 coupe, g37 sedan, q50 sedan, and lastly qx60 SUV. The best by far was the 2006 G35 coupe 6mt. Drove nice and was amazing to look at. They have never been the same since and I will likely not own one again.
I too had a 2006 G35C 6MT. It was the perfect 2+2 Z.
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