Infiniti is set to unveil its first hybrid -- the 2012 M35h sedan -- in the spring of 2011. As Infiniti has yet to sell a hybrid model, officials will attempt to determine which marketing chord appeals to its potential customers: fuel economy or performance.
Ben Poore, Infiniti's Business Unit vice president says that its marketing strategy will emphasize that hybrids always have been about compromise.
Infiniti will use the late-winter, adrenaline-pumped college basketball scene to introduce the M35h to TV viewers. Infiniti has been sharpening its image as the Euro-influenced Japanese performance brand, a rival for Audi and BMW.
Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the M35h delivers 360 hp. The M hybrid should also appeal to people who are environmentally conscious or at least smart about fuel consumption.
The M hybrid, which is also a luxury sedan, promises 30 mpg on the highway. It is also claimed to have the ability to cruise for up to a mile at more than 60 mph on battery power alone.
At the M35h's Web site, potential customers are asked to enter by selecting a path, either through "efficiency" or "performance." Then they are asked to rate their level of interest in the two factors (from 1 to 4). [via autonews - sub. required]