Loyalists will accept a less powerful 2.5-liter G-Series in the model range, but how will they embrace a front-wheel drive model from Nissan's upscale – and enthusiast targeted – Infiniti brand?

Larry Dominique, Nissan North America Inc.'s vice president for product planning, hinted during a recent interview that Infiniti is considering an entry-level vehicle (or a family of models) based on a front-wheel drive platform. This isn't unfamiliar territory for the Japanese automaker. Shortly after the brand debuted, the front-wheel drive 1991 G20 (based on the JDM Nissan Primera) arrived on the scene. It was followed several years later by the 1996 I30 (a gussied-up Nissan Maxima). By 2005, in a strategy designed to compete with BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti had reverted back to an all rear-wheel drive lineup led by the 3.5-liter G35, and later with a few all-wheel drive models.

According to Dominique, many buyers do not know, or care, whether their vehicles are FWD or AWD, citing the Acura TSX and TL models as examples. "Those buyers are OK with it... I think we could deliver Infiniti off a different platform and deliver the experience Infiniti customers expect," he added without going into detail.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]