Johan de Nysschen had only been at the helm of Infiniti for two years when he left for a position atop Cadillac. But in that time, he indeed left his mark on the brand. Most visibly, there was the drastic Q-ification of the company's vehicle naming strategy, but beyond that were big plans to beef up the Infiniti brand with the goal of making it a fully competitive luxury automaker.
Autoblog spoke with Michael Bartsch, vice president of Infiniti Americas, during Monterey Car Week, and he confirms Infiniti's brand direction is "still exactly as Johan presented it." Over the next five years, the company's portfolio will expand by 60 percent, and that will be aided with additional engine and transmission plants, most notably the recent collaboration with Daimler to build 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
As for products, Bartsch let slip that Infiniti's lineup will grow to include eight sedans/coupes and five crossovers/SUVs – 13 model lines in total, up from the present eight. No specific models were disclosed, though Bartsch did note that Infiniti will still be getting a dedicated EV, and the company recently confirmed a new QX30 crossover based on the Q30 small car concept, pictured above.
Infiniti's lineup will grow to include eight sedans/coupes and five crossovers/SUVs.
Furthermore, Bartsch said that Infiniti is still committed to offering a performance division that can be put to use on "products across all model lines." Currently, the company offers IPL versions of its Q60 coupe and convertible, though when asked if that nomenclature will be used moving forward, Bartsch said that at the moment, the goal is for Infiniti to define its performance division, not brand it. No word was given as to what the next performance product will be, with Bartsch simply giving the example that if the company were to build something like a Q30, there will be a performance version, and so on.
For now, the company is still rolling out its all-new Q50 sedan, though Bartsch admits that "we need a strong four-cylinder" in this product. In March, Infiniti rolled out a 2.0T engine for its Q50 in Europe and China, and Bartsch confirmed that this configuration will eventually be offered in the US. Speaking of the Q50 Hybrid, we're told that this is still a small percentage of the Q50 demographic, with roughly 12 percent of all sales having the electrified powertrain.
Either way, Infiniti is "not trying to take the Germans out," Bartsch reiterated. Instead, the company is trying to offer its own take on luxury and performance, but only time will tell if these future product plans can transform the brand's fortunes in the way de Nysschen hoped.