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June 8, 2014

Q50 steers Infiniti in new direction

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is a brand new model. It also is a brand new approach.

The new approach is the handiwork of a business leader named Johan de Nysschen. A native of South Africa, de Nysschen became the president of the Infiniti Motor Co. in July 2012. He operates out of Hong Kong, global headquarters of Infiniti, which is the luxury-car division of Japan’s Nissan Motor Co.

Since taking over the company two years ago, the new chief has launched a campaign to raise the stature and increase the market presence of Infiniti’s top-shelf cars and SUVs.

“Johan de Nysschen is shaking the brand up and has implemented some big changes,” affirmed Brian Heney, whose position as executive manager of Kelly Infiniti, Danvers, makes him one of the local faces of Infiniti. “He has a good track record, and we’re hopeful about his vision.”

One early step in de Nysschen’s program was streamlining Infiniti’s vehicle-naming practices. Before de Nysschen, the company took an alphabet-soup approach, identifying its models by letters that seemed selected at random. Infiniti’s automobiles were the G and the M. Its sport utilities were the JX, FX and QX. Huh?

Henceforth, all Infiniti autos are labeled Q, followed by a number that moves higher as the models increase in price, size or status. The new Q50 is the first in line, with a starting list price of $37,605 for a rear-drive model, and $39,855 for all-wheel drive. It is followed by the Q60 coupe ($41,850 to start), then the Q60 convertible ($49,455), and finally the Q70 sedan ($50,505).

The same naming system applies to Infiniti’s four sport-utility wagons, except they wear the tag QX instead of Q.

Simplified and commonized model names can add to Infiniti’s presence in the luxury-car market. They strengthen the brand’s image by bundling its models into a unified family of cars that share the same traits. With Infiniti, those traits are spirited performance, dramatic design and luxury enhanced by ahead-of-the-pack high-tech.

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