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Archive for the ‘Infiniti’ Category

Infiniti, Ford, Lexus Walk Off with NAIAS Design Awards

Automotive design celebrated at annual event.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.18, 2019

Infiniti's QX Inspiration EV concept was the big winner in this year's Eyes on Design competition taking home three awards.

Throughout the course of its 30-year run, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit’s Cobo Center became known as a “designers’ show” because of the large number of concept cars that emerged during the annual press preview.

For 2019, the tradition carried on with the annual “Eyes on Design” Award singling out three vehicles, one from Infiniti, one from Lexus and one from Ford for honors.

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One of the big winners this year was Infiniti, which walked off with honors in three separate categories. (more…)

New President, New Strategy for Infiniti

Luxury brand wants to downsize its ambitions.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.15, 2019

Infiniti's new boss, Christian Meunier, plans to streamline the luxury brand's product portfolio.

Nissan’s luxury division Infiniti has a new president. And Christian Meunier has a new strategy for the brand, one that downsizes the marque’s line-up but which he is confident will also make Infiniti more nimble and responsive to changing consumer trends.

The automaker offered a hint of where it is going during a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday – or at least it tried to. But the QX Inspiration Concept vehicle didn’t want to cooperate, refusing to budge from its hiding spot behind the stage. It was eventually towed out almost two hours after the event ended.

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Glitches aside, the electric concept vehicle is meant to showcase a variety of trends Infiniti is looking at, including autonomous and electrified technologies, as well as the shift from conventional sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. While the timing for Infiniti’s first self-driving vehicle to reach market is uncertain, it intends to “electrify” all of its models by 2021, whether using pure battery-electric power or as plug-in hybrids. (more…)

Infiniti Charges into Detroit With QX Inspiration Battery-Car Concept

This could be “a direct blueprint” for the first pure-electric Infiniti.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Infiniti revealed the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on Jan. 14.

It’s been nearly a decade since Infiniti first promised to bring a battery-electric vehicle into its line-up, the automaker quickly deciding not to go with a gussied-up version of the decidedly down-market Leaf sold by parent brand Nissan.

With Infiniti now trying to plug back in and promising that it will electrify virtually everything in its line-up by 2021, you can expect to get a good idea of what’s coming with the QX Inspiration Concept making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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“The Infiniti QX Inspiration marks the beginning of a new generation of Infiniti cars and establishes a direct blueprint for the brand’s first electric vehicle,” said Christian Meunier, the luxury brand’s new president and chairman. “Based on a new, dedicated electric vehicle architecture and inspired by Infiniti’s Japanese DNA, the SUV concept previews a product portfolio which will offer high performance, ultra-low emissions and range confidence.” (more…)

Cadillac Reshapes Line-up with new XT6 Crossover

Utility vehicle will replace CT6 sedan as premium offering.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.13, 2019

Cadillac's new XT6 will go up against a tough set of competitors, including the Acura MDX, the three-row Lexus RX and the new Lincoln Aviator.

Cadillac has been in the midst of a “renaissance” for nearly two decades, but it’s a turnaround that has never quite taken hold, especially in the home U.S. market where sales took another 1.1% dip last year.

The big problem has been the lackluster success of the marque’s sedan models, something that is leading to a sharp cutback over the next couple years, with the CTS and ATS models effectively being consolidated and the flagship CT6 set to vanish by the end of 2019.

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The real test for Cadillac comes on the light truck side of the ledger where it has fared a bit better. The new XT4, its smallest SUV, has been a solid hit since its autumn launch. And now, Caddy is pushing upward, with the all-new XT6 that will essentially replace the CT6 sedan as its premium offering.

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Nissan Boosts Range, Performance With New Leaf Plus

World’s best-selling battery-electric vehicle breaks 200-mile barrier.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.09, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus.

It’s been the world’s best-selling battery-vehicle since its introduction nearly a decade ago, but the Nissan Leaf had been losing ground as competitors like Tesla have rolled out an array of new competitors.

Now, the Japanese automaker is aiming to regain momentum with the introduction of a critical update to the battery-electric vehicle, the new Nissan Leaf Plus set to increase both range and performance by about 50 percent. That will position the five-door model, to be sold as the Leaf e+ in most other markets, as the latest BEV to top the 200-mile mark.

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“This is a big psychological barrier,” said Denis LeVot, the CEO of Nissan North America, during the debut of the Leaf Plus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Along with the improvement to Leaf’s traditionally anemic performance, he added, that should prove to potential buyers that “these are more than real cars.”

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Infiniti Aims to Electrify With QX Inspiration Concept

Detroit show car hints at future plans for a plug-based future line-up.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.04, 2019

Infiniti will reveal the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on January 14th.

It’s been a year since Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, announced plans to shift to an “all electrified” powertrain strategy starting in 2021, but the automaker plans to give us a hint of what’s coming with the debut of the QX Inspiration concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show later this month.

The show car picks up some of the design cues we first saw at the 2018 NAIAS in the form of the well-reviewed Infiniti Q Inspiration. But it picks up on the dramatic market shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs.

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“QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” explains design director Karim Habib. “New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy – and the new vehicle communicates the serene strength at our core.”

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Infiniti Teases Electric Crossover Ahead of 2019 Detroit Auto Show

“An illustration of where we want to go with the brand.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.14, 2018

Infiniti is providing a glimpse of its first all-electric crossover concept, which it plans to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Infiniti has a history of telegraphing its future with a series of intriguing auto show concept vehicles – and we can expect that to happen once again next month as it pulls the wraps off an electric crossover concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The prototype will carry forward the striking and well-received Prototype 10 and Q Inspiration concepts the Japanese luxury brand unveiled over the past year. And it appears quite likely to tease not only an upcoming battery vehicle but an all-new EV architecture that will be used for a variety of future Infiniti models.

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“The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for Infiniti, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” said Executive Design Director Karim Habib. “Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy.” (more…)

Porsche Takes Top Spot in 2018 Power Sales Satisfaction Index

Survey shows that dealers who text secure more deals.

by Michael Strong on Nov.14, 2018

Porsche took first place in JD Power's 2018 Sales Satisfaction Index, ahead of Infiniti and Lexus.

New car customers rated Porsche as the top brand in J.D. Power released its annual Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study today and Porsche took top honors overall while Mini was the leader in the “mass market” category while Porsche is considered a luxury car.

The study reviews the sales process, such as how the customer and the dealer interact. The average score was an 823. The big take away from this year’s study? Despite recent claims that people want to haggle face-to-face, Power’s results reveal that customers prefer to be contacted via digital communications such as text message, but it happens less often than desired.

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“These aren’t apples to apples comparisons by any means, but the scores are clear indicators of where shoppers and buyers are going, especially as the consumer base gains a larger mix of younger customers,” said Chris Sutton, Vice President of the Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power. (more…)

Nissan Profits Fall 8% in First Half of Fiscal Year

Sales hit in North American while China grows.

by Michael Strong on Nov.08, 2018

Nissan CFO Hiroshi Karube reported the company's profits fell 8% overall due to falling sales in North America and Europe.

Nissan Motor Co. reported an 8% drop in quarterly profits due to declining sales in its biggest markets, North America and Europe, as well as hits on raw material costs.

The Japanese automaker reported quarterly profits of 130.4 billion yen, or $1.1 billion, on Thursday, down from 141.6 billion yen the same period a year earlier. The automaker noted that quarterly sales fell nearly 3% to 2.82 trillion yen, or $24.8 billion.

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However, this dip in profits wasn’t enough for Nissan to revise its forecast for the fiscal year through March for a 500 billion yen, or $4.4 billion, profit on 12 trillion yen, or $106 billion, sales. (more…)

Future of Alliance with Nissan/Renault the Big Question as Zetsche Prepares to End Role as Daimler CEO

Zetche and Nissan/Renault’s Ghosn insist there is more to come during Paris new conference.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.03, 2018

Zetsche and Ghosn first met when the German exec was working at Freightliner and the Brazilian-born Ghosn worked for Michelin.

Since launching the first in a broad series of joint ventures nine years ago, Daimler AG and the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance have generated what they claim to be billions of dollars in “synergies” that have allowed them to expand their product lines and grow into new markets.

But in recent months, the future of that partnership has come under question. The last major new project was announced three years ago. And now, with Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche planning to relinquish the CEO title next year, that has raised new questions about whether his successor, Ola Kallenius, would keep the alliance going.

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“Without the chemistry between us, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” said Zetsche, during a joint news conference with Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn. But considering the results the partnership has generated, “I don’t see from my perspective why the momentum in this relationship should change.”

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