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Infiniti JX crossover set for spring 2012 debut

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Infiniti plans to add the JX, a midsize seven-passenger crossover vehicle, to its lineup in spring 2012. It will show a concept during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August and the production version in November at the Los Angeles auto show.

Infiniti gave few details about the JX. It says styling of the JX greenhouse will pick up cues from the Essence concept car that debuted in 2009 at the Geneva motor show.

A three-row crossover will give Infiniti a competitor to vehicles such as the Lexus GX and the Acura MDX.

The move will give the luxury division of Nissan three crossovers. The current two--the EX and the FX--are five-passenger, two-seating-row vehicles. Neither have been big sellers for the brand.

Given the order of Infiniti's lineup, the JX name implies that the new crossover will be larger than the FX.

The only three-row vehicle in the Infiniti lineup now is the recently redesigned QX56 SUV, which can seat up to eight people.

While the JX will almost certainly offer all-wheel drive as an option, it's not known whether the base vehicle will be configured for rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. Currently, all Infiniti vehicles in the U.S. market are either rear-drive or all-wheel drive.

But a vehicle the size of the JX might want to use a version of the high-volume platform that underpins the Altima sedan. Nissan has used variants of that platform for the all-wheel-drive Nissan Murano crossover, although that vehicle does not have a third row of seats. But the Altima platform has also been stretched to serve as the base of the three-row Quest minivan. Using the Altima platform would also give Nissan the flexibility to build the Infiniti JX at plants in the United States that build the Altima--in Smyrna, Tenn., and Canton, Miss.

Infiniti has used the J designation before, on the J30 sedan that was sold from 1992 to 1997.

By Dale Jewett