Infiniti Division last week added two more key pieces to its lineup - a mid-sized sedan and a sport coupe - that put it three quarters of the way through a product blitz giving it four new vehicles in 12 months.
Both the M45 sedan and the G35 coupe, which is based on the division's new G35 sedan, will go on sale in the fall.
"Infiniti is in the middle of a total transformation of its product lineup," said Mark McNabb, Infiniti Division chief.
The M45 fills a huge price gap in Infiniti's product portfolio. Between the I35 and G35 sedans, which carry starting prices below $29,000, and the $50,000 Q45, Infiniti has no cars.
The new sedan will start in the low $40,000 range, McNabb said. It will use the same 4.5-liter V-8 engine as the Q45 and will come with the Q45's vehicle information display with LCD screen on the center console and intelligent cruise control.
Despite the similarities, McNabb said, he expects the M45 to help Q45 sales rather than cannibalize them.
"When we started introducing new vehicles, we started with the Q45," he said. "But it can't stand alone. We need a full line to draw in the traffic."
He said the vehicles will not overlap in price and will overlap little in demographics.
"The Q45 is still transacting at over $50,000," he said. "It's just so loaded up. And the M45 is lighter and faster. They're for two different buyers."
Infiniti could use a boost in Q45 sales. After hopes of selling between 10,000 and 20,000 last year, the division sold only 5,726. Infiniti hopes to sell about 1,000 M45s a month.
The G35 coupe is expected to carry a sticker price under $30,000. Its sedan counterpart went on sale last month, and McNabb said it has seen strong sales.
Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president of Nissan design, said the G35 coupe shares no body panels with the sedan, despite the same general appearance. The coupe has the same 3.5-liter V-6 as the sedan but is tuned to produce about 275 hp, 15 more than the sedan.
The coupe will come with a 6-speed manual transmission, with the option of a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The manual transmission will be available in the G35 sedan when the coupe goes on sale.
Infiniti began its product surge with the G35 sedan. It also will introduce the FX45 crossover sport-utility in the first quarter of 2003.