Thursday, November 21, 2019

Infiniti Celebrates 30 Years, The Present And Aims For the Future

Nissan’s luxury brand wants to remind us of its innovative past and look ahead at their promising future.

Many of you might remember the first instances you heard of Infiniti. Just over 30 years ago, commercials for the car company began appearing on television where no cars were shown. I recall raindrops in a puddle or lake and the bad guy from James Bond doing backflips. Point is, these were very unusual advertisements for what would turn out to be a somewhat unorthodox luxury car company.

Remarkable start

Infiniti reimagined the luxury car ownership experience early on. They, in fact, forced the competition to up its game and match elements such as roadside assistance, loan car service and trip interruption benefits. While these were points of interest for potential buyers, the all-new Infiniti Q45 was the real highlight.

Looking back over the last 30 years, Infiniti’s has, like all carmakers, produced some seriously astonishing products (FX, G Sedan and Coupe) as well as many quite forgettable ones. What started out with a mild bang, grew into an anti-German hero, slowly withered away as the generations rolled on by. Infiniti thrived as the Japanese alternative but decisions were made internally all but killed this hard-earned reputation. Suddenly, Infiniti’s reason for being, its identity, was lost.

Throughout the three decades, Infiniti did introduce a number of firsts including, but not limited to, the world’s first fully-active suspension in 1989, the back-up camera and Around View Monitor. While these technologies gave Infiniti a certain edge, the cars and SUVs themselves evolved into more conservative and mainstream Japanese luxury vehicles. Being different made them great, being like the others hurt the brand’s image.

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

A slight deviation…

In a way, proof of this comes from the fact that the Infiniti QX60 is by far their best-seller. SUVs are king nowadays certainly but of all the brand’s products, it is the least sporty, most banal physically by well-established Infiniti design standards and far from being the most innovative. The Q50, Q60 and QX50 all feature authentic Infiniti DNA and yet…

And yet, all of these vehicles are extremely comfortable, pleasing to drive and loaded with technology. They’re not selling as well as perhaps they should but competition is fierce. The next few years will usher in a new Infiniti and while the tables may not turn, Nissan’s luxury brand might once again shine as it once did.

The now, and the near future

For the 2020 model year, all Infiniti products will gain a new-generation INFINITI InTouch System with dual-display touchscreens. The heavily revised infotainment system will now include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven devices, and deliver an enhanced user experience. The big piece of news is that over-the-air updates will be possible.

A few of the 2020 model year Infiniti vehicles are already available for purchase. But this is not the end of the 2020 story. Infiniti announced a while back that they will introduce five new products over the next three years.

We can’t tell you what they are just yet but for the first time in roughly a decade, I’m a little jazzed up about what’s on the way. You can read more about it on Monday.

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

30 Years of Infiniti Event | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,400 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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