Infiniti changes naming system, reduced to just Q and QX

Infiniti has announced that beginning with new models debuting in 2013 it will change its naming convention. Current model names, such as G, M, FX, EX and JX, will be junked in favour of just Q and QX.

As they head into new or facelifted models, all regular Infiniti sedans, coupes and (we presume, in future) hatches will be christened Q##, where the number signifies the car’s size, price and rank in the model lineup. Similarly the brand’s range of SUVs will be rebirthed with QX## model names.

This system closely mirrors what’s currently employed by Audi, where A is used for sedans, hatches, coupes, convertibles and wagons, Q for SUVs, R for dedicated sports coupes, and S/RS for high-end sports variants.

The new naming system will be employed first on the Q50 sedan that launches at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show and will replace the G sedan (or Nissan Skyline in Japan).

The changes

Infiniti G sedan becomes Infiniti Q50.
Infiniti G coupe and convertible become Infiniti Q60.
Infiniti M sedan becomes Infiniti Q70.

Infiniti EX becomes Infiniti QX50.
Infiniti JX becomes Infiniti QX60.
Infiniti FX becomes Infiniti QX70.
Infiniti QX becomes Infiniti QX80.

Opinion

On the surface, this seems confusing. No doubt it’s poorly timed in Australia as the company has just launched here and is trying to build some awareness, not only of the brand, but its G and M sedans, and FX SUV.

In terms of the company’s overall strategy, though, it’s not such a bad thing. Ask anyone who’s not a car buff or Infiniti aficionado “which SUV is bigger, the EX or the JX?” and many will scratch their heads. So a size-based numbering system helps immensely in this regard.

Nissan has aggressive plans to win over moneyed masses with a growing range of Infiniti-branded vehicles. Under the old naming regime, each car would have required a new letter to which an engine displacement suffix could be appended. As Mercedes-Benz’s performance arm AMG uses a similar naming structure, the letters A, B, C, E, R and S, are out of question, especially as Nissan/Renault are partnering with Mercedes-Benz on future engine projects. Indeed, the new Q50 sedan and a future hatchback will feature Mercedes-Benz drivetrains.

Another issue that’s avoided is the badge snobbery attached to model names that signify engine displacement. In the past, this badge snobbery was probably a positive. Having a BMW 335i or Infiniti G35 told the world that you were a superior human being to the pleb driving a BMW 318i or Infiniti G25. Nowadays with emissions regulations and fuel economy targets driving manufacturers to produce smaller, turbocharged engines with fewer cylinders those naming conventions run into a brick wall. Do you stay true and advertise the smaller engine size, and risk offending those who tie engine displacement with status? Or do you flat out lie, like BMW does? Moving to a size-based quantifier removes that future headache.

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]