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Aaron Gold

Infiniti's strange new model-naming scheme

By December 20, 2012

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Infiniti M-series, soon to be known as the Q70This 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

December 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm
(1) Hawaiian Don says:

What do I hink? Since the world ends tomorrow, oh Sweet Jesus, who gives a damn???

December 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm
(2) Brian says:

Sounds like Infinity’s new president will soon be their former president when people stop giving a s**t about the brand.
Superior products don’t need naming strategies.

December 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm
(3) paul armetta says:

I think this new naming scheme is strange. I don’t like it. I think that car companies should just use names.

December 21, 2012 at 2:22 am
(4) Tony Sopranisimo says:

Completely unnecessary, confusing and an academic move by ”the powers that be” over at Infiniti.

Sad. This is a company that produces very well-reviewed and reliable as well as stylish and innovative cars.

I wonder who’s head will roll after THIS debacle??

Guess I’ll get that Audi instead now. Shame.

December 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm
(5) Craig says:

Actually I have two Infiniti products (Q45 and I30) in addition to a Nissan Maxima. I actually like the naming scheme and the X makes sense as it relates to cross-over vehicle like Lincoln, Acura, and Lexus use the X in the name to represent “cross” over.

As for the Q prefix — the Q originally came from British Q ships. Here’s a bit of history about Q ships.

Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, decoy vessels, special service ships, or mystery ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them. The basic ethos of every Q-ship was to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I always thought Infiniti was incredibly clever in coming up with the Q name for a car.

Now I think Infiniti should do some public education to simply inform the the public about the history behind the Q moniker.

Make sense?

December 25, 2012 at 1:03 am
(6) Bill H says:

I have always preferred generic names of real or mythical things, animals, places, etc. with a number designating HP, Cubic inches, etc.
It gives both an easier and informative way of knowing what the model is.
It also gives it more character much as it was into the 80′s more or less. Some still do but not enough of them, mainly foreign.

As an example, BMW has the series numbers which by themselves have become very boring over a period of years. Especially as their style remains much the same in all their models and the same with other companies.

I have a 325 i and love my car except it looks like just about all the other incl older and newer models. Boring in that respect.

As I say same goes for most foreign and many U S now as well.

Way back when new cars came out at the end of the year, Oct, Nov mainly the dealer showrooms had a what were almost “block parties” with floodlights, beautiful models – women that is, food and drink and music, etc. They often would hold them over 3 day week ends and a lot of people showed up and they made a lot of quick sales and a lot of add ons that you didn’t need.

Now it’s all look on line and be bored by no name cars other than the company.

Yes we buy them but it sure as hell is not much fun any longer.

December 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm
(7) James Snodgrass says:

Can’t afford an Infinity model so I do not care what it is called.

December 31, 2012 at 8:36 am
(8) Matt says:

I have a JX and love it. I think it’s in a class by itself. I would never consider the FX (I think it’s a station wagon) and do not need the size of the QX SUV. I admit I it’s a little vain, but I would never have bought it if the name indicated the car was middle of the lineup. Who wants the medium luxury product, the one not as good as the better cars in the lineup? I am serious, why advertise that the JX is somehow inferior to the FX? I have no problem distinguishing the MDX from the RDX, and the RDX isn’t named the cheap MDX. I think Infininti has this all wrong. Acura let go of some marquee names (Legend, Integra) and never recovered. Infiniti should work on a flagship Q sedan before it does anything else, and stop letting Lexus eat its lunch with the LS.

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