Right now you might be asking yourself why Infiniti decided to change the name of the G37 to Q50, and to be honest I’m not really sure either. It’s confusing as to why a brand would take all of its established nameplates and start from scratch, but this is exactly what Infiniti is doing for its entire lineup in 2014 under the new reign of Johan de Nysschen.
The Q50 will be the first vehicle introduced under the new Infiniti nomenclature, and while every vehicle will be receiving a new name to keep things simple, just know that all sedans and coupes will be called “Q” while Crossovers and SUVs will be dubbed “QX”. Sometimes, in the past, brands have changed vehicle names to get rid of associated stigmas, but in all reality Infiniti has no vehicles to be ashamed of so why change now?
Positive nameplate recognition takes a very long time for a smaller luxury brands like Infiniti to establish, and in the case of the G, it’s been an ongoing battle since 2003. First launched as a redesigned model back in 2003 (redesign? don’t forget about the G20, the first Infiniti to actually wear the G nameplate from 1990-2002), the G35 was introduced as the brand’s maverick; created to compete against established nameplates from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Acura, to name a few.
Dollar for dollar, the first generation G35 couldn’t be rivaled in terms of power, technology, and value. When the second generation G35/G37 was redesigned for the 2007 model year, it built upon the strengths of the original, but has since become increasingly more expensive and is now seven model years old, making it a bit long in the tooth by luxury automotive brand standards. It’s also important to point out that the current generation G37 has remained relatively unchanged since 2007.
For the sake of comparison, a base model 2013 G37 Journey currently retails for $37,350 while an entry level 2003 G35 carried a MSRP of $27,800, equating to a 34% price hike over the course of 10 years for essentially the same car. Bounce those numbers against the segments king, the 2013 BMW 320i retails for $32,550 and a comparably equipped 2003 325i carried a MSRP of $27,800, and you find that the BMW’s price only grew by 17% over the course of the same 10 year period.
In terms of incentive spending, over the course of the 2012 calendar year, Infiniti spent an average of $6,221 on each G37 sold compared to BMW, who spent only $2,744 per 3-Series. Most recent April 2013 incentive spending spiked to $6,476 for the G37 while 3-Series spending hovered right at $2,761.
Last year, the total 2012 G37 sedan and coupe combined sales tally of nearly 60k units accounted for roughly 50% of total Infiniti brand sales for the year, which is still an impressive feat for such an old platform.
Looking ahead, the all-new Q50 will come in two powertrains; either a naturally aspirated 3.7L V6 or a performance oriented 3.5L Hybrid V6. Both versions will be offered in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. According to Infiniti, special introductory pricing should range between $36,450 for a base model all the way up to $52,500 for a fully contented Hybrid Sport model.
While the original formula for the G was simple, one part sport + one part luxury + packaged together nicely and priced less than the competition = sales, recently it’s become blurred. Late model G37’s have been more expensive than the competition and as a result, Infiniti has relied heavily on incentives as a tool in order to spark sales.
It will be interesting to follow the new Infiniti over the course of 2013 and 2014. Lots of questions will be answered such as, will the new naming strategy catch on, or will the brand lose consumer awareness? Will they be able to pull back on incentive offerings and control pricing better while still remaining competitive? For Infiniti, only time will tell their fate in the ultra-competitive luxury vehicle marketplace.