Infiniti Sales Slump Leaves Brand Stumped

Infiniti’s sales took a tumble in September, dropping 44 percent (43.9 percent, to be exact) compared to September 2018.

Last year, Nissan’s luxury brand sold 12,536 units in September, while just 7,031 units left dealer lots this time around. The brand is also down 16.5 percent over the first nine months of the year.

Bigger picture, the industry has been hit by six months of sales declines in 2019, and all large automakers, Asian or American, were facing large drops (double digits, in many cases) in September. The good news for the industry is that the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) checked in around 17.16 million units across all brands – a healthy number despite the sales declines.

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2019 Infiniti QX50 Review - Owner of a Lonely Heart

Think of an occasion in which something really good appeared in a place where it was underappreciated. A fantastic steak at the downtown greasy spoon, perhaps? Beautiful new windows installed in a student rental house? My writing on this website? Wait, I wasn’t supposed to say that last one out loud…

Buried in the mire of Ghosngate at Nissan is some nifty new tech that should be turning the car world on its ear. The company’s variable compression engine, displacing an industry-typical 2.0 liters from a turbocharged four pot, is actually about as far from industry-typical as Yugo was from being a class leader in fit and finish. It’s able to vary its compression from 8:1 to 14:1, thus offering the best of power and economy characteristics. It’s been called the “holy grail.”

So where does this engineering marvel and technological triumph first appear? In the company’s sports car? Don’t be silly. It’s under the hood of a grey crossover, of course.

Talk about being underappreciated.

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Infiniti Wasn't Fibbing When It Estimated the Revolutionary QX50 Engine's Thirst

One thing is clear — with variable compression comes a newfound lack of thirst.

Infiniti’s previous midsize QX50 crossover didn’t astound in its thrift, garnering 20 miles per gallon on the EPA combined cycle. The move to a new, front-drive platform and addition of a years-in-the-making gasoline engine for 2019 has done wonders for the model’s drinking habit, however, and Infiniti engineers pegged the MPG figures right on the nose.

With the 2019 QX50‘s fuel economy now confirmed by the EPA, it begs the question: just how much of the model’s thriftiness can the variable compression engine take credit for?

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2019 Infiniti QX50 First Drive - Your Compression May Vary

Miles per gallon can vary from driver to driver. We all know that. Now, Infiniti is trying out an engine that can vary its compression ration from scenario to scenario.

Miles per gallon is also a key spec for the new QX50, since the variable compression ratio tech is responsible for a claimed improvement in combined fuel economy – 35 percent for front-drive vehicles and 30 for all-wheel-drive units.

As is the usual case on first drives, I had no chance to verify those numbers – which, according to Infiniti, work out to 27 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 26 mpg with all-wheel drive. Improved fuel economy is just part of the picture when it comes to variable compression, which is making its production debut in the 2019 Infiniti QX50.

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2019 Infiniti QX50 Drops the Curtain; Variable Compression Engine Beats Efficiency Estimate

You saw a teaser the other day, but here’s the real thing. Infiniti’s next-generation 2019 QX50 midsize crossover has appeared online before its official unveiling at next week’s L.A. Auto Show.

The model’s uncloaking doesn’t yield any great design surprises, as this next-generation model — bearing Infiniti’s new “Powerful Elegance” styling — was preceded, somewhat oddly, by its own namesake concept vehicle. One surprise, however, is the model’s anticipated fuel economy.

With a 2.0-liter variable compression four-cylinder resting under the hood, the new QX50 sips less gas than initially claimed.

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Infiniti Offers a Peek at the 2019 QX50(?) as It Prepares New Crossover, Engine for L.A. Debut

Nissan’s luxury division isn’t saying it’s the next-generation QX50, but everything we know about that model and its revolutionary (and potentially risky) engine points to one conclusion.

For now, and until the vehicle’s unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show on November 28th, Infiniti simply refers to it as an “all-new model” — one boasting “world-first” technology. The technology’s no mystery, as after two decades of development Infiniti plans to launch a 2.0-liter variable compression gas engine. Expect class-leading interior volume, the automaker tells us.

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