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Whoever said: “What's in a name?” obviously never worked in the motor industry, where the name of a model can have a huge effect on sales. Just ask the marketing guys at GM who named a new Chevrolet sedan, largely intended for the Latin American market, the Nova, figuring that meant 'New' in Spanish, when actually it meants 'Doesn't go'.
Likewise Mitsubishi's flagship beetlecrusher is known as the Frontera in Latin American because Pajero means something very rude indeed in Spanish. And don't think sticking to alphanumeric designations will keep you out of trouble. The name of Toyota's gorgeous little MR2 roadster translates into Japanese as Ni-san.
Now Infiniti, with a new corporate headquarters in Hong Kong (which says something about the company's marketing focus) and a new president, Johan de Nysschen, has announced that it's going to rebadged all its models as part of its campaign to become a world player in the premium segment.
And in fact, De Nysschen is taking Infiniti back to its roots, to the Q45 luxury sedan that launched the brand the in the United States in 1989.
BIGGER NUMBER = MORE CAR
Starting with a new premium sports sedan, the Q50, that will debut at the Detroit motor show in just a few weeks, all future Infiniti models will be coded either simply Q (for sedans and convertibles) or QX, for crossovers and SUV's, followed by a two-digit number.
The two digits won't refer to the size of the engine but to the position of that model in the Infiniti rage; the bigger the number the more important - and expensive - the car.
Thus, from 2014, the G sports coupé and convertible will be badged as the Q60 and the M luxury sedan will be known as the Q70, while the EX crossover will become the QX50, the IX seven-seater the QX60, the FX performance crossover the QX70 and the QX SUV the QX80.
De Nysschen explained: “Over the past few months, we've talked to our dealers, customers and business partners, all of whom agree that we need a simple and consistent new model identity to make our branding more straightforward, as we expand our model range.
So we decided on 'Q', to emphasise our performance credentials while referencing the original Q45 of 1989.”
Which should make sense to everybody except, maybe, Audi.