Infiniti is thinking about adding an entry-level vehicle, or a family of models, that it will base on a front-wheel-drive platform. However, the brand's performance cars, the Infiniti G and M, will remain rear drive, according to Larry Dominique, Nissan North America Inc.'s vice president for product planning.
Dominique said that the core of the brand is "very important"when referring to the performance sedan.
He said that it's possible to have other vehicles in different segments around the core of the brand. For Nissan, there would a reversal of strategy. It was in 1991 that Infiniti started offering fwd and rear-wheel-drive models.
The I35 sedan, Infiniti's last fwd car, was discontinued in 2004. Back then, Infiniti executives said they wanted only rwd vehicles, asserting it was a better strategy to compete with BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
At an interview done at the Detroit auto show recently, Dominique said many buyers do not know or care whether their vehicle is based on an fwd or all-wheel-drive platform.
As examples, Dominique cited Acura's TSX and TL models. He said that the TSX is an fwd vehicle, and the TL is offered as fwd or awd. He said that buyers are OK with it. Currently, all of Infiniti's models are on a body-on-frame, rwd platform. [via autonews - sub. required]