This week, one of the strangest stories of the year is unfolding at Infiniti. A few days ago, Nissan's luxury brand posted an announcement about a new naming strategy, with all of the cars prefixed "Q" and the all of the SUVs prefixed "QX". The numbers following the letters, which currently denote engine displacement, will instead note the car's location in the model hierarchy, just like Volvo. So the G-series sedan becomes the Q50, the G coupe and convertible will be the Q60, and the M will be known as the Q70. Over on the SUV side, the current EX, JX, FX and QX become the QX50, QX60, QX70 and QX80, respectively.
Needless to say, this met with quite a bit of head scratching from the automotive community -- so yesterday, Infiniti's relatively new president, Johan de Nysschen, posted "a message to Infiniti owners and fans," which (supposedly) explains the name change.
"There are no suitable combinations of Alphanumeric naming options remaining that are not already trademarked by another automaker," explains de Nysschen. "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?"
(Funny, I thought they went in alphabetical order by size. I guess I was wrong. Or right, but that was just a coincidence.)
"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," he continues.
Is this December... or April 1st?
As you can tell, I think this whole thing is pretty bizarre. I think naming the cars Q50, Q60 and Q70 is going to cause more confusion, not less. Things might get even more messy on the SUV side, since under this new naming scheme the Q50 and Q70 are five-seaters while the Q60 is a seven-seater. And of the 26 letters in the alphabet, I'm pretty sure there must be a couple more available.
What do you think of the new naming scheme? Bizarre? Folly? Or a good move? Click the "comments" link and have your say. Oh, and you might want to check out this version of de Nysschen's letter (WARNING: Contains language that may not be safe for work). -- Aaron Gold