QOTD: Give up, or Carry on for a Brighter Future?

qotd give up or carry on for a brighter future

You’ll have to both forgive us and brace yourself at the same time, as this could get controversial. We’re about to delve into a serious problem that goes back quite a while. One that has its roots in many factors — some of them organic, others the result of those in power making bad decisions.

It’s something many of you probably ignored, pushed to the back of your mind as your attention turned instead to the mundane day-to-day goings-ons of your own life, not wanting to concern yourself with something you don’t believe involves you, and yet it’s something we can’t ignore anymore.

We’d caution both sides of this debate not to lash out at each other, and instead, listen, learn and understand.

Ready? Okay, here goes…

We need to talk about Infiniti.

Yes, we’ve talked about this failing brand before — how could we not, given the steep decline the premium marque has seen over the past couple of years? While Acura has had some success in remaking itself (it still faces the problem of fielding too few utility vehicles) and Lexus remains the premium juggernaut it always was, Infiniti can’t seem to get its act together. Just when it starts building things people like, it somehow ages out of that phase and embarks on an experimental concept album that goes over like a lead balloon.

It was a tweet from a reader that prompted this QOTD. In it, Jay suggested parent corp Nissan should, in his words, “Kill it and move on.”

He might not be alone in thinking that…

Indeed, under Nissan’s wet blanket of a four-year plan, Infiniti stands to become both “Nissan-plus” and “great again,” according to its parent automaker’s COO. Can a premium brand that once boasted street and country club cred with its G35 and Q45 (not at the same time, mind you) be these two things at the same time? Many would reply with a firm “no.” Others still would replay with a harsher “HELL no.”

Nissan is a value brand. Value is not necessarily a pejorative either in the mainstream or the premium space, but the maker of the Versa and Sentra and Kicks does not lend itself to easy association with high-end product the way Honda and Toyota does.

Infiniti’s stable is shrinking along with its sales. Its names are confusing and mean nothing to most consumers. The most recent designs to come from the brand are an improvement on what came before, but are neither memorable nor desirable enough.

At least its sedans and coupes are rear-drive and unique to the brand… only now, as part of becoming Nissan-plus, we hear Infiniti will borrow some front-drive Nissan architecture for a new lineup of front-drive and AWD product that won’t begin showing up for three years. Lord have mercy on this brand.

Nissan’s in triage mode, cutting costs and streamlining its business in order to survive. As part of this, Infiniti stands to become less distant from its parent brand, DNA-wise. If it can’t be what it once was, or even currently is, under these new conditions, is it worth keeping around? On the other hand, with a deep parts bin on hand, the brand could recoup its lowered development costs with enough volume make its existence worthwhile to Nissan. It just might not be a legit rival to the likes of Lexus and Honda. The marque’s one-time luster might be replaced with a sales-sapping stigma.

Then again, maybe Nissan can work some magic that actually stimulates consumer interest. It’s not like its Japanese rivals can’t make hay with shared architecture and powertrains.

What say you? Should Nissan throw its hands up and pull the plug, or try to make the best out of the hand it’s been dealt?

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC, Kazick/Shutterstock]

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 82 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jun 02, 2020

    You cannot compare Infiniti with Lincoln or Cadillac. Lincoln is a true luxury brand bought by Ford and same with Cadillac. Infiniti in the other hand is a made up brand like all Asian "luxury" brands. They have no heritage and are pure marketing exercises selling Nissans, Hyundais, Toyotas and Hondas under different brand. That's why they cannot compete with true luxury automakers from Germany. Yes, Infiniti may be gone and no one will notice.

  • Luke42 Luke42 on Jun 04, 2020

    The problem with these the-vendor-wishes-it-was-a-luxury-brand brands is that they don't have anything to differentiate themselves. If I were king, I would turn Infiniti and Cadillac into electric-only brands. Now, we have a real technological difference, and it's something you can't get for less from the mainstream partner brand. Most people who want an RWD V8 have one already. That layout has it's charm, I suppose, but it's been obsolete for decades. EVs are the new upcoming / aspirational thing.

  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
Next