Infiniti, one of the last luxury holdouts to have model numbers that actually indicate engine size — as opposed to BMW, Mercedes and Lexus — will rename its entire lineup using Q or QX monikers starting with the 2014 model year.
Luxury brands like Volvo, Audi and Lincoln have similar conventions; Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen headed up Audi of America until last spring. Citing the need for "a new identity and direction to promote consumer familiarity with our model range as we expand the portfolio," he laid out plans to begin the shift "in logical stages" starting with the 2014 model year.
Among the brand's cars, the G25/37 sedan becomes the Q50, which debuts in redesigned form at next month's Detroit auto show. It’s essentially the next G with a new name. The G37 coupe and convertible become the Q60, and the M37/56 becomes the Q70.It's a bizarre shift, to say the least. When Lincoln adopted its MK-prefixed lineup, we called foul — though in fairness to Infiniti, Lincoln earned our ire because it did that from heritage-rich names like Zephyr and Aviator. Infiniti's alphabet switcheroo does away with no actual names.
"It's a little bit difficult to swallow," Infiniti spokesman Kyle Bazemore admitted, "but it makes a lot of sense."
"All our model names are basically based on engine displacement," Bazemore told us. "The problem is what happens when we have smaller displacement" with turbochargers or superchargers, as many European automakers have done.
"In the future, a G37 might become a G30, a G20, whatever … [but] it's a downgrade in consumers mind. As we're trying to upgrade ourselves and trying to be more of a premium brand, that's not something that consumers are wanting to do."