Opinion: Infiniti is Headed Nowhere Fast, and Needs an Entirely Different Approach

<img data-attachment-id="1742752" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach/all-new-2022-qx55-awd-4j6a3923-source/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/All-new-2022-QX55-AWD-–-4J6A3923-source.jpg" data-orig-size="8688,5792" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"6.3","credit":"","camera":"Canon EOS 5DS R","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1602114839","copyright":"","focal_length":"58","iso":"200","shutter_speed":"0.01","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="All-new 2022 QX55 AWD – 4J6A3923-source" data-image-description="

Infiniti

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-10.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach.jpg" class="aligncenter wp-image-1742752 size-large" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach.jpg" alt width="610" height="407" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-9.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-10.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-11.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-12.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">After teasing, promises, and COVID-related delays, the Infiniti QX55 debuted a few weeks ago, as Infiniti eagerly drew direct comparisons between their new “classy” successor and the departed FX35/45. You might remember that shapely SUV headed to its demise in 2017 after it was left to rot for a few years, then renamed QX70. Infiniti chose to ignore its final QX70 name in the press materials and call it FX instead, which says something about their branding strategy, doesn’t it?

Today I’m here to tell you this “new car” is a perfect example of exactly what’s wrong at Infiniti, and the changes needed years ago, not sometime in the future.

2022 Infiniti QX55. Image: InfinitiDespite the framing of the new QX55 as successor to the FX, a rear-drive based and V6/V8 powered SUV, the two don’t have much in common. FX was far ahead of its time in its display of “coupe SUV” styling, and much more legitimate as a sporty luxury SUV in its context than this new crossover. Underneath FX was the platform of the G35, for the record. The QX55 offers two less than six cylinders and is front-drive, utilizing the QX50’s compact crossover platform.

<img data-attachment-id="1742750" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach/all-new-2022-qx55-awd-4j6a4701-source/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/All-new-2022-QX55-AWD-–-4J6A4701-source.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,2000" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"7.1","credit":"","camera":"Canon EOS 5DS R","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1602184421","copyright":"","focal_length":"22","iso":"200","shutter_speed":"0.0125","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="All-new 2022 QX55 AWD – 4J6A4701-source" data-image-description="

Infiniti

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-18.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-2.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742750" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-2.jpg" alt width="610" height="407" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-2.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-17.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-18.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-19.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-20.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">The QX55 is a slightly chopped version of the relatively unsuccessful QX50, where the roof and cargo area are lower, and the whole vehicle is slightly less useful in the name of “style.” QX55 joins the ranks of the Volkswagen Atlas Cross and the Toyota Venza in this trend. The merits of such design aside, look closely at the QX55, inside and out.

2022 Infiniti QX55. Image: InfinitiInside are a collection of Infiniti parts donated from other vehicles. Notably, the center stack, wheel, and most of the buttons hail from the Q50 sedan. That’s unfortunate given their quality in general, the resolution and size of the screens, and the fact the lot is from circa 2014. Check out those window switches!

<img data-attachment-id="1742756" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach/all-new-2022-qx55-awd-4j6a4421-source/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/All-new-2022-QX55-AWD-–-4J6A4421-source.jpg" data-orig-size="8688,5792" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"5","credit":"","camera":"Canon EOS 5DS R","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1602123807","copyright":"","focal_length":"100","iso":"400","shutter_speed":"0.008","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="All-new 2022 QX55 AWD – 4J6A4421-source" data-image-description="

Infiniti

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-26.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-4.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742756" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-4.jpg" alt width="610" height="407" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-4.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-25.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-26.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-27.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-28.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">Outside, the new ride repeats the same styling theme Infiniti has used for years, accompanied by uneven panel gaps and a tailgate which even on the press photos is visibly misaligned. There’s just nothing new on this all-new car, aside from some roof shapes. And check the key in the man’s hand in the headline photo. It debuted on the G35 in 2006.

One could extend these comments to the rest of the aging Infiniti lineup as well. The brand’s present trajectory seems to usher its transformation into a crossover-only outlet, which is absent the performance and rear-drive roots of the brand. And I suppose that’s not an awful approach, perhaps it’s even necessary for today’s crossover-hungry market.

InfinitiBut Infiniti is not especially good at selling crossovers, either. The QX50 had all the hallmarks of a crossover people might want, yet customers largely turned to Lexus or Acura instead. In Q3 2020, Infiniti shifted 5,500 QX50s, while Acura sold 15,038 copies of the RDX. It’s hard to fail at the compact or midsize crossover game, but here we are. And by the way, the company has zero present electrification. It tried an expensive Q50 hybrid previously with the old VQ35 engine, but that didn’t last long.

But maybe that sort of failure is a good thing from Nissan’s perspective, because as they announced previously their intention is to create a “Nissan-plus” lineup at their luxury brand. It’s beyond my understanding why anyone would willingly and intentionally draw a direct line from Infiniti to Nissan and make the former sound like a trim level of the latter, but that’s another issue.

<img data-attachment-id="1695510" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/11/infiniti-explains-brands-future-product-strategy-design-language/infiniti-q-and-qs-inspiration/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/INFINITI_Q_Inspiration_Concepts___image_02-e1572893201449.jpg" data-orig-size="4775,3075" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"4","credit":"Dominic Fraser","camera":"ILCE-7M3","caption":"The Q Inspiration and Qs Inspiration concepts call on forward-looking technology and daring design to reflect the brand\u2019s ethos.","created_timestamp":"1572251067","copyright":"\u00a9 2019 INFINITI","focal_length":"50","iso":"400","shutter_speed":"0.008","title":"INFINITI Q and Qs Inspiration","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="INFINITI Q and Qs Inspiration" data-image-description="

infiniti

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-40.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-7.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1695510" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-7.jpg" alt width="610" height="393" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-7.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-39.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-40.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-41.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-42.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">The company has two electric concept designs in the Q and QX Inspirations, which are of sedan and crossover shapes respectively. They’re exciting in theory, and carry the new origami-inspired dented paper design theme the brand will use. But the last time they talked about them was in late 2019, and there’s no date given for these EV product releases. What’s taking so long?

<img data-attachment-id="1665912" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/03/where-your-author-sells-an-infiniti-quickly-then-starts-a-search/dtca_yqxgae57wt/" data-orig-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-47.jpg" data-orig-size="1200,900" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="2009 Infiniti M35x" data-image-description="

Corey Lewis

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-44.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-8.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1665912" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-8.jpg" alt width="610" height="458" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-8.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-43.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-44.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-45.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-46.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/opinion-infiniti-is-headed-nowhere-fast-and-needs-an-entirely-different-approach-47.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">Speaking as someone who willingly bought two Infiniti vehicles in past (the other was an I30), I’m also speaking as someone who’d avoid anything they make today. Unfortunately, I don’t see movement on that needle any time soon. Infiniti should work on building excitement and a solid portfolio of upcoming EV models. Create an EV (and electrified) path forward with cars people actually want to buy, and get one on sale as soon as possible. Creating slightly modified versions of the Altima-adjacent things already on sale while avoiding major product updates like a crowded restaurant in The Current Year? That’s not cutting it, and you can do better.

Infiniti needs to drop the Nissan-plus ideas and go all-in on EV development, yesterday.

[Images: Infiniti, Corey Lewis/TTAC]

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