Nissan’s luxury brand is redesigning its Infiniti FX crossover to provide a roomier cabin. Shiro Nakamura, global design chief for Nissan, remarked that Infiniti believes that giving the FX more cabin space while keeping its assertive styling will help boost sales of its next generation, which could be rolled out in 2015 or early 2016. Infiniti has renamed the 2014 models as QX70 as part of a new naming system across the premium carmaker.
Nakamura remarked that the FX has been the icon of Infiniti, noting that exterior and styling-wise, the crossover is very strong as an icon. He admitted that the sales of the Infiniti FX failed to live up to expectation, remarking that perhaps the carmaker has placed a “little too much emphasis on exterior styling” on the current FX. He remarked that while there is a balance, the FX poses several disadvantages compared to some rivals like the Porsche Cayenne.
He said that Infiniti’s challenge now is to maintain the FX’s striking look while making it slightly larger inside. While Infiniti is seeking to make its models roomier, it is also adding smaller vehicles and front-wheel-drive platforms. For instance, Infiniti will unveil at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show the Q30 fwd compact concept. The luxury carmaker has also indicated that it is planning for other small vehicles.
Nakamura noted that the proportions are different on a front-wheel car, so it will be a challenge on how to put their statement of “Infiniti-ness” into smaller, front-wheel vehicles. He noted that the brand’s designers are careful about maintaining the striking look of the FX/QX70, since the crossover has become a big seller in new markets like China and Russia.
Infiniti revealed that while the newest generation of the FX is mainly sold in the U.S., it initially made its debut in Europe during the 2008 Geneva Auto Show. As such, it played an important role when the brand officially launched in Europe during that same year. The FX then became the best-selling model from the brand in the continent mainly because it experienced success from buyer across Europe.
In addition, it was being bought mainly under the top S Premium grade. This started the pattern of high-spec model which has since then characterized the Europe sales of Infiniti. The first models released were the FX37 and the FX50. By 2010, Infiniti introduced a new version which was fitted with the new 3.0-liter diesel V6 engine. This would later serve as the foundation of Infiniti models released in Europe to have diesel engines.
Like models being fitted with petroleum-powered engines, the FX30 is a high-performance model that can deliver peak torque of 550 Nm. The figure means that the FX30 is guaranteed to be in the front of many diesel-powered crossovers. Currently, Infiniti said that 80% of FX models sold in Europe come equipped with the Around View Monitor and the Intelligent Cruise Control.
Meanwhile 98% have the highly successful Connectiviti+ navigation and entertainment system. Infiniti said that that the reason why the brand has its very own take on the luxury car market is because it knows that owners are successful free-thinkers who are not narrow-minded enough to be limited to the past or even concepts related to badge arrogance.
With the average age of FX owners at 48 years, they are considered by class standards as young. These are owners who have their very own business. In fact, 90% of them have previously owned models from other premium brands before trading up. Many of them used to own models from BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche. At least 70% meanwhile already have their very own SUV.
Infiniti has long been known to change the rules with regards to designing a large crossover. No wonder then why it has become synonymous with all a Japanese luxury brand stood for. With the FX, Infiniti is set to establish itself on the Europe market by having a new spin on design, performance, and customer service.