Armchair CEO: Unsolicited advice to Infinity

Armchair CEO: Unsolicited advice to Infinity

From the April 2023 issue of Car and Driver.

Dear Mr. Kargar,

The first Infiniti car made such a lasting impression on me that I bought a new car. The original Q45 featured a unique belt-buckle front emblem, a sculpted interior with luxuriously flowing surfaces, and a solid metal ignition key that felt heavy in the proud owner’s pocket. From there, the brand’s career ladder rose with the remarkably cool G35, M45, and FX45, but other efforts including the I30 and QX4 proved to be underdeveloped and overstyled Nissan clones.

Today’s lineup is a mix of the older Q50 sedan, some notable compact SUVs in the QX50 and QX55, the nice but not class-leading QX60, and the luxe but pricey body-on-frame QX80. The transition to EVs is the perfect opportunity to revamp the model mix. Infiniti needs to capitalize on interest in luxury crossovers by offering sleek, beautiful options that compete on price without compromising on premium touches.

• Start by transforming the Qs Inspiration-inspired US-built 2025 all-electric sports sedan into a more buyer-friendly high-riding form that could challenge the Mercedes EQC around the same time.

• Proposition number two is riskier but potentially more rewarding. So far no manufacturer has conquered the American and Chinese markets with high-tech in a small package. Can Infiniti use the Aria platform and become the first to manage a cute zero-emissions city cruiser that wins over the big-SUV and big-sedan audiences of its market?

• SUVs are the heart of the lineup, and this is where Infiniti should challenge BMW. It looks like a new lineup will be electrifying. Sure enough, when the QXE—or however they’re designated ending—series come out, the QXE50 slots in above an electric X3 but costs less, the QXE70 eclipses the future electric X5 at a discount, and The QXE90 has a clear visual and functional edge over something like the X7 EV. In short, the Infiniti must compete with BMW, yet remain notably more affordable to encourage buyers to take a risk on the brand.

The pending powerplant paradigm looks like a minefield from afar, but there are brand-size opportunities to harvest. Oh, one more thing: When you’re done signing off on the new Infiniti logo, take a deep look again at that beautifully crafted belt-buckle emblem that adorned the front end of the original Q45.

Headshot of George Cachar

contributing editor

Although I was born the only son of an ornithologist and a postal clerk, it was clear from the start that bird watching and stamp collecting were not my forte. If I had known that God wanted me to grow to 6’8″, I too would have refused to have anything to do with cars, which are to blame for slipped discs, torn ligaments, and silly postures behind the wheel. Working as a keeper at Aberdeen Zoo, smuggling cheap cigarettes from Yugoslavia to Germany, and failing to make ends meet as well as an embarrassing interlude with an amateur drama group, driving and writing about cars became a better option. . And it still is, many years later, as I approach my 70th birthday. I love every aspect of my job except for the long-haul travel on lousy airlines, and I hope it shows.

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