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Infiniti future products: Making room for three additions to the lineup

Wed, 17 Aug 2011

Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti luxury brand will develop three all-new vehicles over the next three to four years: a compact sedan, a family-sized crossover and an electric luxury car based on the Nissan Leaf.

The plan is part of Infiniti's goal to increase sales and market share in the United States and globally.

In June, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn set a goal of more than tripling Infiniti's annual global sales to 500,000 units by 2016. To do that, he said, "Infiniti will be present in more than 70 markets with a product range of at least 10 vehicles." That target will require the automaker to add at least three models to its portfolio.

Compact car: Infiniti's compact sedan, drawn from the Etherea concept car shown at the Geneva auto show in March, will arrive in the 2013 or 2014 model year. The car will extend the brand into a price range below its G series, as BMW did with its less expensive 1-series. And like the larger and more expensive G, Infiniti's new compact could spawn model variations, such as a coupe.

The 1 series-fighter will be front drive, a departure for the rear-drive Infiniti brand. It also promises Infiniti's second hybrid powertrain offering, since it is designed around the proprietary drive system used in the M hybrid introduced this year. Based on indications from Infiniti at Geneva, the car will use a supercharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 245 hp. It will use a continuously variable transmission, independent suspension, regenerative braking and drive-by-wire electric/hydraulic steering.

JX: Infiniti will add the JX as a seven-passenger crossover in spring 2012 for the 2013 model year. The three-row model is expected to be a high-volume addition to the line, taking on the Lexus RX, and it will be made at the company's plant in Smyrna, Tenn.

The family-sized crossover, referred to internally until now as the IFV, for Infiniti family vehicle, will have a rounded roofline and curving side windows seen on Infiniti's Essence concept car two years ago.

EV: Infiniti will introduce an electric sedan in 2013 as a 2014 model, built off the Nissan Leaf. Though using the same five-seat dimensions as the Leaf, the Infiniti version will use a different exterior design and have a more luxurious interior.

EX: Few changes are planned on the EX for 2012; it goes on sale in September. For the 2014 or 2015 model year, Infiniti is considering building the cramped crossover's next generation off the Nissan Murano's front-drive platform.

FX: The 2012 FX is freshened with a new front end, grille and bumper fascia and will go on sale in October. Inside, the model receives a new instrument panel and standard heated seats. It will be restyled for the 2014 model year.

G: The G sedan is due to be re-engineered for the 2013 model year; the coupe and convertible versions will be re-engineered a year later.

QX56: The QX SUV was redesigned for the 2011 model year. For 2013, it receives more options.

M: The flagship sedan was redesigned for the 2011 model year. It will be freshened for 2013.

M hybrid: The hybrid gasoline-electric M was launched this spring.

By Lindsay Chappell- Automotive News