G sedan redesign, hybrids, EVs top Infiniti's to-do list
Photo credit: LINDSAY CHAPPELL
- 2012 European Automakers: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen
- 2012 Chrysler-Fiat Future Product
- 2012 Japanese Automakers: Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Suzuki
- 2012 Ford Product Plans
- 2012 Korean and Chinese Automakers Future Product
- 2012 European Automakers: Aston Martin, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Rolls-Royce, Smart, Volvo
- 2012 Japanese Automakers Product Plans: Acura, Honda, Lexus, Scion, Toyota
- 2012 GM Product Plans
NASHVILLE -- Infiniti's product plans for the next few years will be dominated by the introduction of new powertrains in electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.
The luxury brand also will redesign its biggest-volume product, the G sedan.
Infiniti's current mission is to diversify its relatively small portfolio, with some help from Nissan Motor Co.'s expanding global technology and product-sharing deal with Daimler. At the same time, Infiniti is fanning the flame for higher-volume global products, such as the 2013 JX crossover.
Prior to the production startup of the JX this year in Tennessee, every Infiniti was built in Japan. But in April, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said he intends to move Infiniti production out of Japan because of the strong yen. It's not clear how that might alter future models.
While relocating factory lines and supply chains can take two years or more, the plan -- if carried out -- is likely to result in significant changes, such as Infiniti's use of a Daimler-designed engine that will be manufactured in Decherd, Tenn., starting in 2014. Infiniti has confirmed that it will share that engine with the Mercedes-Benz C-class car. But Infiniti has not specified what model will get the engine, or whether the car will be built in the United States or overseas.
Here are highlights for Infiniti products for the 2013 through 2015 model years.
LE: Infiniti's all-electric sedan, which shares the Nissan Leaf's chassis and battery module, will arrive in 2014. It could receive a different name before then, but the company says the car will remain close to the LE Concept car shown at the New York auto show in April. Differences in the Infiniti version's components and engineering will result in higher horsepower for the LE, but essentially the same 80- to 100-mile driving range as the Leaf.
Etherea: Infiniti will source a new European-built entry-level hybrid compact from Austrian coachbuilder Magna Steyr for the 2015 model year. In revealing the plan in May, the company indicated the product will be aimed primarily at new markets, but also at "new customers." The description matches the smaller-than-G hatchback Etherea concept shown last year at the Geneva auto show, a proposed front-wheel-drive four-cylinder hybrid. In its effort to develop a powerful offering below the G sedan, Infiniti first offered the smaller-engine G25, which it discontinued for the 2013 model year.
Emerge-E: The Emerge-E, which was unveiled this year as a plug-in hybrid sports car platform concept, represents a future product with a still-undecided design. The Emerge-E's main significance is its powertrain, a combination three-cylinder engine and lithium ion battery system that has a 300-mile driving range. The system's two 150-kW electric motors driving the rear wheels deliver 402 hp and 0 to 60 mph in four seconds, according to Infiniti. Indications are that the commercial version of the car would appear after 2015.
G: Infiniti's bread-and-butter product is scheduled for a redesign for the 2014 model year.
M: Infiniti's current flagship, the M sedan series, was redesigned for the 2011 model year and will be refreshed in 2014. Infiniti has launched a long-wheelbase version of the M in China with more interior space, but no decision has been reached about whether to offer the variant in the United States.
FX: The FX35 becomes the FX37 with the change of its engine from a 3.5-liter to a 3.7-liter V-6 in 2013.
EX: The EX changed its engine from a 3.5-liter V-6 to a 3.7-liter V-6 for the 2013 model year and had its name changed to the EX37. Now in its sixth year, the crossover will get no significant changes in 2014.
QX: The full-sized SUV was redesigned for the 2011 model year. The 2013 version, which arrives next month, is little changed.
You can reach Lindsay Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.