Infiniti: JX fits nicely into lineup
NASHVILLE -- The JX crossover attracted new customers to Infiniti and lifted the luxury brand's U.S. sales, just as Infiniti had hoped when it introduced the vehicle in March.
Infiniti's U.S. sales totaled 119,877 light vehicles in 2012, a 22 percent gain over 2011. The JX accounted for 21,674 sales in the 10 months it was available.
"Our concern coming into the year was that we didn't want to see the JX simply cannibalize the QX56," says Ben Poore, Infiniti vice president for North America. "And we succeeded at that. We were able to also increase our QX sales while we introduced the JX."
The QX, a full-sized, V-8-powered SUV, is Infiniti's most expensive vehicle, with a transaction price more than $25,000 above the seven-passenger JX's, Poore says. By comparison, the JX is a less brawny, front-wheel-drive crossover that uses a 3.5-liter V-6 and offers less towing muscle. The current average JX transaction price is $44,850 while the average for the QX is $70,065.
Infiniti dealers sold 15,310 of the SUVs in 2012, an increase of 14 percent. The brand counted December as the QX's best month ever, with 2,232 sales.
"We consider JX as a total success for us," Poore says. "It brought a new customer into the showroom looking for a comfortable family vehicle."
Infiniti faces two challenges as the crossover begins year two. The automaker plans to adopt a new product nomenclature next summer, using the letter "Q" on all products. The JX will become the QX60. The QX56 will become the QX80.
At the same time, Infiniti also must now compete for JX factory capacity against the Nissan Pathfinder, which rides on the same architecture and is built on the same line in Smyrna, Tenn.
The Pathfinder has proved equally successful for Nissan dealers since launching in late October, selling about 8,000 a month since the introduction.
"We could've used a few more JXs," Poore says. "We could've sold every one we got."
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