Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the automotive market took a global dive into the deep end. Unfortunately for Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury division, their sales were declining long before then. In 2019 alone, sales declined 21.1 percent to 117,708 vehicles. Now, Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta has a new plan of attack: make Infinitis more like Nissans by incorporating a ‘Nissan-Plus’ strategy. As it stands, Nissan is currently losing substantial amounts of money, but not as much as Infiniti. In the throes of coronavirus-related shutdowns, Nissan’s sales were down by 9.9 percent year-to-year.
So what issue does Infiniti currently have that doesn’t impact Nissan quite as much?
The problem Infiniti currently faces is a lack of diversity along its lineup. The most popular Infiniti products are the Q50 coupe and Q60 sedan. Both cars are their answer to a comfortable family car that embodies elements of sportiness. Other than that, the only other products available are two SUVs and a crossover. Nissan, however, has a more expansive portfolio of models for to choose from. That starts with the 370Z and GT-R, the all-electric Leaf and a plethora of SUVs, crossovers and trucks. By using more platforms from Nissan and throwing in bits of luxury along the way, Gupta is expecting sales to notably increase.
In practice, that means the Infiniti and Nissan models will be much more closely related than they currently are. As even Nissan is struggling to move its own cars, throwing Infiniti onto that bandwagon may not generate much interest in a “new” line of models.
As Nissan’s own woes and the global economy continue to agitate Infiniti’s turnaround, the going may get tougher for the struggling company. Gupta states the U.S. and China won’t be seeing new Infinitis until around 2023. For a car company whose sales are already slumping, that is a long and expensive wait.
Automotive News points out that, despite its relatively low popularity, platform sharing with Nissan means Infiniti as we currently know it could die off. The brand whose bread and butter rested with bespoke, rear-wheel drive cars will look notably different if it shifts to Nissan-based, front-wheel drive platforms.
While we wait to see what happens with Infiniti, see how the current Q50S fares against its chief rival below: