Infiniti is taking aim at German rivals in the sporty crossover segment with its newest model, the QX55.
The coupe-style crossover, scheduled for a U.S. sales launch next spring, will arrive as the financially struggling brand updates one of the oldest product portfolios in the industry.
Infiniti will launch five vehicles globally in the next three years.
The QX55 "sets the stage for us to start to move forward," said Jeff Pope, Infiniti Americas group vice president.
The crossover is based on the redesigned Infiniti QX50 compact crossover that launched in the spring of 2018 and introduced a variable-compression engine that delivered V-6-like performance with four-cylinder diesel-like fuel economy.
Coupe-like crossovers, such as the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, are finding a market among young families who want the utility of a crossover and the sporty styling of a sedan. U.S. sales of luxury crossover coupes rose 34 percent last year, led by the Audi Q8, according to AutoForecast Solutions.
With the new model, Infiniti returns to the niche that it virtually invented with the original crossover coupe, the FX.
"Infiniti recently pulled out of the small-crossover space with the discontinuation of the QX30, so it needs pizazz and a hook to bring younger and new customers to its dealerships," said Tyson Jominy, vice president of the Power Information Network at J.D. Power.
The QX55 will be assembled at the $1.4 billion joint-venture plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, co-owned by Nissan Motor Co. and Daimler AG. The model's U.S. launch had been planned for the second half of 2020 but was delayed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.