By on December 18, 2012

Infiniti has decided to abandon its current alphanumeric strategy for…an all-new alphanumeric strategy whereby passenger cars are given the “Q” designation, and crossovers and SUVs are dubbed the “QX”.

The G37, which has built up substantial equity over the last few years, will be renamed the “Q50” for the sedan and “Q60” for the coupe. The M will be re-named the “Q70”. On the light truck side, the EX will now be known as the “QX50” all the way up to the Nissan Patrol-based QX, which is now the “QX80”, with the current JX and FX filling out the remaining slots.

The ascending numeric designations do help with creating a hierarchy based on vehicle size, and also takes engine size out of the equation – important if Infiniti ends up downsizing to smaller engines, a la the German marques.

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80 Comments on “Infiniti Revives The “Q”...”

  • avatar

    Oh great, more confusion.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m going to have to pour out some sake for the G and M brands. That is a lot of goodwill that Infiniti is throwing away. Both the FWD and RWD Gs are awesome cars, especially in the purest, first generation iterations of each. And the M45 has been awesome since it came out as a four-door muscle car.

      But, I can see why Infiniti wants to unify the prefix across the brand, and use the number in each name to signify prestige, since turbos and hybrids are making displacement less relevant.

      What really makes this particular naming ugly is the zeros at the end. It would look/sound much better if the cars were named Q5, Q6 and Q7, and the SUVs were named QX5, QX6, QX7 and QX8. That would also line up the cars (somewhat aspirationally) against the BMW 5, 6 and 7. Unfortunately Audi beat Infiniti to the punch with the Q and then one digit system.

      • 0 avatar

        Weren’t the FWD cars named “I”?

        But yeah, I agree. I couldn’t actually believe this was real news when I first heard it.

      • 0 avatar

        The I30/I35 was a FWD Infiniti based on the Nissan Maxima, and made in two distinct generations (with two mid-cycle refreshes of varying intensities) from 1995-2003.

        The G20 was also a FWD Infiniti, based on the world car Nissan Primera and sold in the US from 1991-1995 and again from 1998-2002.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    So Infiniti is renaming it’s vehicles so they start with “Q”, apparently in honor of the Q45 one of the biggest flops in automotive history. They should have a chat with the folks at Acura. Ask them how renaming the very successful Legend the 3.5RL worked out.

    • 0 avatar

      Once the luxury makes destroy the brand equity in their individual model names it will become harder to sell their mid-line models. For example if all you wanted was to be able to tell your friends you have an Acura (for whatever that’s now worth…) you can just buy a TSX and forget about paying more for a TL or RL – most people won’t know the difference. Going one step further: just build one model that is “entry-level affordable luxury” to lure in those who only want to buy into the brand, and build another that is full-boat expensive for those who want something better and don’t care about price. These days, luxury is mostly a marketing gimmick anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Does every brand need to rename it’s models with some alphanumeric nomenclature like some new computer OS? This is Lincoln’s big problem.

      The Q45 was not a bad car quite advanced for it’s time especially the touring Q45t version. From what I remember they did sell well though not as many as it’s main competitor, Lexus LS. The second generation with the unusual multi light headlamps did not sell as well and was dropped. The M30 was a real sleeper especially the convertible. I see plenty for sale really reasonably priced.

      • 0 avatar

        The gatling-gun headlamp version was the 3rd generation. The second generation ran from 97-01 IIRC, and looked more like a Lincoln/Buick. It did the reputation of the Q45 in for good.

  • avatar

    The marketing team at Lincoln thinks this strategy MKs perfect sense.

  • avatar

    If G had the most brand equity, why not use the Letter G?

  • avatar

    Disaster. This will never come to fruition.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Ok fine, so they’re going the Audi route where the base cars are all “A” (For Audi I think).

    But the letter “Q”?? It’s such an awkward letter in my opinion and will for me only personally evoke images of a supernatural omnipotent troublemaker of a car that every now and then will screw around with the driver… let’s call him a “captain” in a series of mishaps and wild adventures then suddenly return the car to normal as if nothing ever happened.

    … actually maybe that’s exactly what Infiniti needs…

  • avatar

    That has to be a joke

  • avatar

    So…. the JX will be the QX60, even although it’s much bigger and not remotely related to the Q60 coupe?

    • 0 avatar

      I see your reasoning but the JX isn’t related to any Infiniti platform (the way that the the “G” platform is used for everything else), so they would have to of an outlier for their new naming scheme or just fudge it a bit.

      I have a better question what will this do to the resale value of the now one model year JX35?

      Having a one year production run made the recent Lincoln Zepyr a steal in the used market.

  • avatar

    To this day, I still lust over owning a fully-optioned 1995 Q45 in black paint and tan leather interior, special edition BBS wheels, four wheel steering (for the one year) and hydraulic suspension. Perfection from every angle and if Infinity can resurrect that flagship, I’ll gladly part ways with some hard earned money.

  • avatar

    This has to be one of the worst ideas I have ever seen. Throwing away the strong brand equity in the G-Series line makes no sense. Renaming the entire line will just be confusing for everyone. In a bit of a nit-pick, I don’t understand why the larger JX will be numbered lower than the smaller FX.

    I know car models pretty well, but I still have to think about the right letters in the Lincoln line. BMW’s naming has become insanely complicated (Z4 sDrive35is anyone?). Mercedes has a lot of models and therefore a lot of different letters. This is certainly closer to the Audi and Volvo methods, but that doesn’t make it right.

    Good luck, Infiniti. You’re going to need it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Lombard

      ^^^ This. All this ensures is that they have a large customer re-education process ahead of them. Which is expensive and risky from a brand equity standpoint. It’s their best selling model—and arguably the one that most embodies the brand (from a consumer perception standpoint). If it actually addressed and fixed a problem, it might be worth it. But it sure doesn’t seem to. Where’s the upside?

    • 0 avatar

      DM335: “However, the abrupt change creates its own problems, and leaves many questions unanswered. Does the next FX become a seven-seater, or is it given a higher number for its premium status in the lineup?”

      I would have to be in agreement with both you and the above excerpt which I copied from another related article. I really DO NOT agree with the changes in Infiniti’s “nomenclature”. The names/letters for the current line up makes each car/model DISTINCT. As you already know, the letter of course is the name for the model and the digits represents the size of the engine for that model, which in itself is cool. Not only is it cool, but it’s VERY SIMPLE for anyone — even for non-Infiniti owners — to figure out there’s “some kind of improvement” made to the car/model just by looking at the number (I.e. From G35 to G37… M35 to M37… FX45 to FX50). Keep it simple!

      On another note… Does Infiniti have any plans on (re)introducing a sedan back into their lineup between the (now) G and the (now) M (i.e. I35)??? I loved the I35s (because I owned 1-2002 model w/ sport pkg and 2-2004 models)!!! The reason I ask is because I stand at a height of 6’3″. The (now) M model is the perfect size for me, but it far exceeds my price range. And the (now) G model is in my price range, but it’s too small for me… Well, to be more specific, I fit in just fine length-wise, but it’s too narrow for me (which makes me feel like I’m driving in a casket) and there’s no room for anyone who would sit behind me.


  • avatar

    Can one of the editors of this site explain the reasoning behind car companies doing this? It seems like every time a luxury automaker revamps their naming system, especially when it involves abandoning established nameplates for a less than sensical easily confused naming system, it doesn’t end well. Volvo is really the only one I can think of that was successful in such a rebadging (although that degree of success remains debateable given Volvo’s current state).

    • 0 avatar

      Arguably the new names will be (after the transition period) less confusing than the current ones — and avoid trademark issues.

    • 0 avatar

      Because it’s a mistake to brand the prestige of a car based on engine displacement. Mercedes went through this in the mid 1990’s. There was the confusion of whether a 500E had anything to do with a 500SEC or 500SL.

      They’re still in the trap. Mercedes S550 uses a 4.7L V8 instead of a 5.5L, and the S63 uses a 5.5L instead of a 6.3L, but downgrading the alphanumeral is damaging to their little game. BMW and Lexus have fallen in a similar trap.

      The way out of it, IMHO, is to start using names. Infiniti President or Infiniti Gloria, anyone?

      • 0 avatar

        Mercedes alphanumerics have always been a bit of a mess.

        The S is bigger than the C, but the CL is bigger than the SL. The CLS is a cheaper model than the CL, but the SLS is a more expensive model than the SL.

        I’m guessing that there is just something lost in translation from whatever the letters were meant to represent in German, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        At least BMW keeps it simple – the larger the first number the bigger the car, though they aren’t perfect. Why is a coupe/convertible based on the 5-series a 6-series, while coupes/convertibles based on the 1-series and 3-series aren’t 2-series or 4-series? M designations go in front of the number for cars, but after the number for SUVs? (I guess that last one makes a bit of sense, Mazda would have likely sued BMW if they released a MX5).

    • 0 avatar

      The idea is to subordinate the models to the parent brand, so that the cars themselves don’t stand out – instead of saying “I own an M”, you’ll say “I own an Infiniti”.

      Cruise lines have done this as well, ditching unique and individual ship names in favor of ones starting with the name of the line itself followed by some cookie cutter generic term.

  • avatar

    When asked if the “i” in Infiniti will be replaced by a “y”, they said “We’d like to look at that, but obviously there’s the audio company, so that would be difficult.”

  • avatar

    This is just Stupid,
    They didn’t think this one, since in french now all their models are now :
    Ass50, Ass60, Ass70
    AssX50 and so on….
    This comming from Nissan/Renault is just stupid.

    This is just as stupid is as the Buick Lacross, which in french would translate to the Buick Masterbate

  • avatar

    I guess it IS a good idea to rename your entire brand offering after a previously little-known failure of a sedan.


    I think Infiniti is headed to the depths in a few years, to join Plymouth and Olds.

  • avatar

    Right now Audi is sitting back laughing at this development.

    …and I’m laughing right with them.

  • avatar

    I think this will go down as one of the worst decisions in modern automotive history, and one that may very well bring down the entire Infiniti brand. That bad.

    • 0 avatar

      I am not a fan of this change but I would think if the product is good then it will sell.

      At least it makes more sense than the Lincoln Motor Company (!) naming. MKZ is a smaller car than MKS….

  • avatar

    Is Infiniti trying to one-up the Germans? It seems like they’re attempting to give each model a 1.3+ liter “bump”.

    “See, it’s a Q70- a 7-Series for the price of a 5er!”
    “Why would you want that A5 when you could have Q60 for the same price? Your neighbors will think it’s more expensive because the number is bigger.”

  • avatar

    I would actually say this is more akin to Audi (A4, A6, Q5, Q7) or Volvo (S40, S60, XC60, XC70) than Lincoln. I can also see why Infiniti would do this, with all of the other luxury brands cannibalizing the alphanumeric names. And if you had to pick a letter to saddle your entire brand with, Q isn’t a bad one…

  • avatar

    I… I just… …sigh…

  • avatar

    All right! A seven-liter flagship. Oh, wait…

  • avatar

    I’m placing bets right now that Buick will do this in a year or so. Get ready for the 2014 Buick GNX, GLX, GSX, GFX, and GHX.

    I miss when cars had names.

  • avatar

    Autoblog mentions Infiniti thinks this will help the brand branch outside the US. If that’s true, why not keep the old names (and the brand equity) in the states and name them Q/QX abroad? Is badge tooling that expensive?

  • avatar

    Had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1. This definitely kills brand equity. I can’t figure out what was wrong with the letter-based system they have now, especially when Mercedes, with whom they are sharing platforms, does the same thing.

    Also, there’s some inflation going on here. BMW 3/4 –> Audi A4/A5 –> Infiniti Q50/Q60. BMW 5 –> Audi A6 –> Infiniti Q70.

    I suppose if they ever come out with a new flagship, it’ll be the Infiniti Q90, not to be confused with the Volvo XC90 or the Audi 90.

    Now we will get stupid BMW like names — BMW X5 xDrive48i. You can get an Infiniti Q70 3.7x or a Q70 5.6.

    Also, now a Q45 is technically better than a Q70. The SUV naming makes no sense either. The JX is bigger than the FX, even if the price point of the FX is meant to be higher.

    • 0 avatar

      The NYTimes article on this makes a weird assertion that was probably out of the mouths of the marketing guys at Infiniti:

      “The designations that Infiniti is replacing were always problematic. Infiniti’s M model had a hard time distinguishing itself from the Nissan Maxima. The G line never enjoyed much allegiance as a subbrand and was attached to a dizzying variety of numbers associated with evolving engines.”

      Wtf? Who is confusing Infiniti M56s with a Nissan Maxima? The G-line is the ONLY one that has gotten allegiance.

      Maybe consultants should stick to reforming TPS reports, rather than naming cars.

      • 0 avatar

        We need to talk about your TPS reports, did you get that memo? It’s just we’re putting new coversheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that’d be great.

    • 0 avatar

      The number inflation makes sense given the current sizes of the cars, as it allows the addition of multiple models below the current ones without having to resort to a “zero-series” or something like that.

      BMW’s choice of number 3 made more sense in the 1970s when it was still a small car …

      • 0 avatar

        The problem, however, is that I’m not sure you’re gaining that much by having things too much smaller than a 3-series/C-class/A4/G in the US if you’re a luxury marque.

        In Europe, where you can still get non-luxury BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes and where people will buy fully loaded cars with tiny engines, sure, but here in the US, I’m not sure it does what is seen as a luxury marque any favors to have a smaller cheaper car.

        BMW probably benefits more by re-branding it as a Mini, rather than as a BMW 0-series or whatever.

  • avatar

    I’ll tell you what the problem is: consultants. Companies pay big money to have consultants tell them what they should do. The consultants, who must be very smart, considering how much they charge for their services (tongue in cheek), come up with pointless and wasteful suggestions. The management doesn’t want to look like they pissed away all those consulting fees for naught, so they blindly follow the consultants advice.

    If I had to guess, I’d say consultants were behind the recent change to “Lincoln Motor Company.” Probably also the reason the Dodge Ram is now the Ram Ram…or the Ram 1500…or whatever. Consultants were probably also behind the millions of dollars Wendy’s just spent re-designing their logo and re-skinning their stores. It ain’t gonna sell more hamburgers.

    • 0 avatar

      very well stated, and 100% accurate.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe these are the same consultants that were at The Lincoln Motor Company a few years ago before it became The Lincoln Motor Company when they rebadged the Zephyr as the MKwhatever-the-hell-it-is and called their rebadged Taurus flagship the MKTaurus.

      At least they’re not trying to change the name of the brand like they did in the 1980’s when Datsun became Nissan in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar

      Markholli… I say BALDERDASH!!! I cannot believe, NOR will I believe… That the consultants actually convinced that red-headed little girl to redesign her logo!!!

  • avatar

    They need to use the term “Luxury” more.

  • avatar

    They should make an electric car called the Ueef.

  • avatar

    Considering the last time I looked at an Infiniti or considered them relevant was before I left Nissan almost 6 years ago, it’s safe to say this won’t affect my life much.

    I do prefer the current designations, they at least have some distinction.

  • avatar

    This has to be one of the stupidest moves yet besides Lincoln MK…….whatever movement. The G has brand equity that Infiniti have taken the last decade to build as well as the FX and to the lessor degree the M. I expect mass confusion at the NAIAS.

  • avatar

    Maybe they wanted to re-assert to Audi that Q was theirs. Supposedly the agreement is that Audi can only release a Q5 and a Q7, so I’m not sure what they’ll do with the Q3, and the planned Q even-numbers.

  • avatar

    Infiniti sent me a questionnaire about a year ago asking things like:

    – Do you associate vehicle worth/price with the model number?
    – Do you associate engine size with the model number?
    – Would you buy a car if the number was lower than a competitor’s?
    – What do you think about the following prefixes for a car model – SV, Q, P, R, etc. I put in some snarky and colorful responses to some of these.

    I knew the results of this questionnaire would have ended up in the wrong hands.

  • avatar

    “Would you buy a car if the number was lower than a competitor’s?” — as I pointed out above, they clearly decided in favor of inflation.

    Didn’t they consider R as a prefix for the GT-R originally, when they were thinking of bringing it here as an Infiniti instead of a Nissan? I know that the platform is called R, but I thought the model name that was conjectured was too.

    “Do you associate engine size with the model number?” — not any more, thanks to BMW and Mercedes who feel the need to lie about these things.

    • 0 avatar

      They lie about the model number pertaining to engine size because they would have to go backwards.

      Also I think if you say 320 Ti S-Drive fast enough it’s bound to be an insult in some language.

  • avatar

    “The Q Continuum”
    – by Infiniti

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