The QX60 is Infiniti's bestselling model. The automaker delivered 22,880 QX60s last year — 29 percent of the brand's total sales.
The future of Infiniti rides on the QX60, said Infiniti National Dealer Advisory Board Chairman Ed Lennon Jr. And he said the brand is "under pressure" to nail the QX60 market launch.
"If we're going to get the kind of investment that we need from [Nissan Motor Co.], this car has to do very well for them and for the dealers," said Lennon, president of Circle Infiniti in West Long Branch, N.J.
Infiniti sales in the critical U.S. market have been in decline in part because of a dated product portfolio. Infiniti deliveries slumped 32 percent last year — the largest annual drop in the brand's history. The Japanese brand reported 79,502 sales, its lowest total in two decades.
The QX60 is a "lifeline" for dealers, said Dallas Fox, executive manager at Tim Dahle Infiniti in suburban Salt Lake City. "We don't have 10 products in our lineup," Fox said.
In the luxury segment, where players such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW chase every conceivable niche with sprawling product lineups, Infiniti is down to a handful of nameplates.
The average age of Infiniti's portfolio is about three years older than luxury-segment leaders BMW and Mercedes, calculated one industry observer, adding, "Infiniti is a starved brand."