Infiniti President defends name changes, confirms 550+ hp flagship

Infiniti 2014MY new nomenclature inforgraphic, 600, 18.12.2012
Infiniti 2014MY new nomenclature inforgraphic, 600, 18.12.2012

Exec says the changes were unavoidable

Infiniti received a lot of flak when they announced plans to rename their entire lineup and adopt a convoluted Q and QX naming structure. To address the critics, Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen has released a memo which explains why the company felt the change was necessary.

Calling the decision unavoidable, Nysschen said Infiniti is embarking a massive product offensive that will see the launch of several new models. This represented a problem as the company contends there were "no suitable combinations of Alphanumeric naming options remaining that are not already trademarked by another automaker."

Nysschen also explained that using a car's engine displacement in the model name is confusing as the company's upcoming high-performance sedan - which will have a "charged induction" 3.0-liter V6 that develops 550 hp (410 kW) - would receive the M30 moniker which would make it sounds less powerful that the M56 that uses a 5.6-liter V8 that develops 420 hp (313 kW).

The executive also contends Infiniti's existing nomenclature is confusing as consumers aren't sure of the brand's hierarchy. Their research has shown that customers think the model names are arbitrary and confusing.

While the explanation won't please everyone, Nysschen said the decision was "tough" and will help pave the way for the company's future.

Source: Infiniti
Published Dec 19th, 2012 11:20pm By Michael Gauthier
Posted in:

A Message from Johan de Nysschen to Infiniti Owners and Fans

Dear Infiniti fans: We love you dearly. And we know you love the brand. Which means it's only natural that you may feel surprised by the announcement that we plan to change our nomenclature philosophy. No one likes change.

It was a tough decision. We like our current model names as much as you do. But we had no choice but to change. Let me explain.

1. We are embarking on a massive product offensive, and these new cars need names.
There are no suitable combinations of Alphanumeric naming options remaining that are not already trademarked by another automaker. In order to expand our line up with the fascinating new models we are developing, we must create a more flexible nomenclature philosophy.

2. Our new advanced technology engines under development will be smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient yet more powerful. And we will introduce some exhilarating performance machines in the future. I'm sure you will agree, it would be a bit odd to have a powerful, luxurious and refined V8 powered Infiniti M56, then position a new high-tech 550+ horsepower performance flagship for the Infiniti M range above it, using a potent charged induction V6, but then call it Infiniti M30, which we would be obliged to do, following our current naming logic.

3. Infiniti is becoming a global brand now. We are already active in almost 50 countries, the majority only very recently. Our new customers are unfamiliar with the brand and struggle to understand our range hierarchy. Is a JX above or below an FX? Where does an EX fit? What is the relationship between G and Infiniti M? Research confirms the majority of newcomers to our brand consider the naming to be somewhat arbitrary and confusing.

4. Infiniti owns the naming assets of Q plus double digit, and QX plus double digit. And it is a permanent part of our heritage.

So the solution is pretty straightforward - use Q for cars, QX for crossovers, and double digits in increments of ten, to denote hierarchy, linked to the price point of the model, not size and not engine displacement. And no, we wont call all-wheel drive models Q50X or QX50X. The fact that a model may feature four-wheel drive will be indicated by specific badging describing this feature on the car and is not part of the model name.

The really exciting implication of all this is that it prepares the way for the introduction of several fascinating new models above and below the current line up, and a wider range of powertrains including some truly stunning performance cars in our future.

So there is only good news for all Infiniti fans around the globe. We are working very hard to bring you great products, a great brand and a compelling ownership experience. And we are really confident you will love the new Q50. It's simply that good.

Warmest regards,

Johan de Nysschen
Infiniti Motor Company Limited

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Comments (14)

MarcHamady MarcHamady
I hope Infiniti will actually have a big RWD flagship sedan in their lineup very soon.
Jul 27th, 2013 2:35pm
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tazcubed tazcubed
Volvo's nomenclature makes sense - C for coupes, V for wagons, S for sedans, XC for SUV/crossovers. Audi, BMW and even Mercedes makes some sense. This change makes no sense - what happens when they offer different engines for the same vehicle or the same engine across different vehicles? Obviously, given the defensive stance by the CEO means they didn't really think it through before committing to it.
Mar 14th, 2013 4:27am
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djsai djsai
This is total HORSE CRAP. The nomenclature was easier than most. NOW it will be Arbitrary and cornfusing...
Jan 18th, 2013 1:50am
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i think an 's' was already fine .. M30s
Dec 20th, 2012 6:00pm
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TomitaBogdan TomitaBogdan
the 3.0 engine 550hp would be called IPL M, not M30
Dec 20th, 2012 12:13pm
1 0
Cayman_ Cayman_
In my opinion, Infiniti is making a costly mistake. I think the name change is unnecessary. Every infiniti model has its own identity in the line-up, if you want it make it simeple, G, M, Q, then for the trucks, EX, FX, JX, QX... simple. With the names being the same where would the selection be, and it would cause alot more confusion cause the consumer wont know with car is which. By the way. if people cant tell by now which infiniti is which, then that's just your average not-so-bright consumer. the names define the car, it should remain the same, infiniti should just keep doing its own thing, but i would like to see a G50 to compete with the IS-F, and im glad there bringing back the Q flaship.
Dec 20th, 2012 10:56am
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sensei sensei
Agreed. This decision has fail written all over it.
Dec 21st, 2012 1:10pm
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vr38 in a sedan be sick
Dec 20th, 2012 2:26am
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Joao Oliveira Joao Oliveira
3 liters and 550hp? Good...
Dec 20th, 2012 1:31am
1 0
autoficianado autoficianado
I think we can leave BMW & Mercedes Benz out of this conversation. Their customers definitely know the brands naming structure and hierarchy. This is simply the NEW CEO's first attempt to put his stamp on the Infiniti brand. It's a combination of Volvo & Audi naming systems and doesn't sort out any confusion whatsoever. I am sure most people knew Infiniti's G, M, and even the long unseen Q flagship. The names and the numbers sound a bit wonky...
Dec 20th, 2012 12:41am
1 1
ChristopherRogers ChristopherRogers
Actually mercedes is doing the samething.they renamed the cl coupe to the e class and they are doing the samething with s class coupe
Dec 20th, 2012 4:06am
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MercLeRoux MercLeRoux
Firstly Mercedes didnt rename the CL to the E-class Coupe, it was the CLK. There are plans to rename the CL to the S-class coupe. So thats two models out of the entire range. Infiniti has renamed their entire range. So i agree with autoficianado and say we can leave Merc and BMW out of this...
Dec 20th, 2012 10:21am
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rambo_005 rambo_005
I don't know how BMW ended up in this conversation, they already have a good naming system in place. Most of Mercedes' is ok, but currently part of it doesn't make sense i.e. the SUVs: GLK, G, ML, GL and the Coupes: CLS, CL, SLK, SL, SLS etc - though they have started to fix this problem by wiping out the CLC and CLK and launching the C Coupe and E Coupe. Infiniti outside of North American is basically totally new, and therefore their naming system would be confusing to customers (remembering all their customer will be new to the brand). A naming system that is illogical is unwise in my opinion and that is why I commend the change to a logical system, even if I don't agree with the choice of letters personally. If Infiniti is to take on the Germans, it's luxury sedan can't be called the 'M', as most people would think of a mid size SUV = the Merc M Class!
Dec 20th, 2012 9:17pm
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rambo_005 rambo_005
I agree with the CEO's comments and commend them for making the change while Infiniti is still relatively young in the global market. Mercedes need to sort their naming scheme out further also.
Dec 20th, 2012 12:21am
1 2