LOS ANGELES -- The QX30 compact cross-over that debuted at the auto show here is one of the early fruits of Infiniti's expanded global design team.
Infiniti designer Hirohisa Ono styled the crossover, working at Infiniti's new studio in San Diego. Ono, who also designed the Nissan GT-R sports car before going to work across the aisle at Infiniti six years ago, is part of a growing network of global Infiniti designers.
In the past two years, Infiniti has opened studios in California, London and Beijing. Including a large number of Infiniti design staffers in Japan, the luxury brand now has between 250 and 300 designers working on Infiniti projects around the world, says global design chief Alfonso Albaisa.
"We're going to need all of those people focusing on Infiniti in the next few years, as we grow around the world," Albaisa says. "We have a lot of new products coming."
Just before the QX30's summer arrival, Infiniti will receive the Q30 hatchback. Both are built on Mercedes-Benz's A-class platform.
Randy Parker, vice president of Infiniti Americas, says he expects the crossover will be the bigger seller of the two.
"These are going to be volume products for us," Parker says. "By 2020, the majority of new-vehicle customers will be Gen X and Gen Y consumers, many of them shopping in this segment."