Armchair CEO: Unsolicited Advice to Infiniti


From the April 2023 issue of Car and Driver.

Dear Mr. Kargar,

Infiniti’s first car made such an indelible mark on me that I bought one new. The original Q45 featured a unique belt buckle front emblem, a sculpted interior with incredibly flowing surfaces, and a solid metal ignition key that felt heavy in the proud owner’s pocket. From there, the brand’s career ladder soared, with the remarkably cool G35, M45 and FX45, but other efforts, including the I30 and QX4, turned out to be underdeveloped and overstyled Nissan clones.

Today’s lineup is a mix of the aging Q50 sedan, some unremarkable compact SUVs in the QX50 and QX55, the good but not class-leading QX60, and the luxurious but expensive body-on-frame QX80. The transition to EVs is the perfect opportunity to remaster the model mix. Infiniti needs to capitalize on the interest in luxury crossovers by offering sleek, beautiful alternatives that compete on price without sacrificing the premium touch.

• Start by changing the confirmed US-built 2025 electric sports sedan, inspired by the Qs Inspiration, into a more buyer-friendly high-riding form that could challenge the Mercedes EQC, due around the same time.

• Proposal number two is riskier, but potentially more rewarding. No manufacturer has so far conquered the American and Chinese markets with high technology in a small package. Can Infiniti use the Ariya platform and be the first to run a cool zero-emission city cruiser that wins over the large-SUV and large-sedan audiences of its market?

• SUVs are the heart of the range, and here Infiniti should challenge BMW. It seems obvious that a new range will be electrified. Make sure that when the QXE—or whatever they’re called—series comes out, the QXE50 slots in above an electric X3 but costs less, the QXE70 eclipses the future electric X5 at a discount, and the QXE90 has a distinct visual and functional edge over something like an X7 EV. In short, Infiniti needs to compete with BMW, yet remain significantly more affordable to encourage the buyer to take a risk on the brand.

The pending power source paradigm shift looks like a minefield from a distance, but there are brand-shaping opportunities waiting to be reaped. Oh, one more thing: When you sign off on the new Infiniti logo, take another deep look at that beautifully crafted belt buckle emblem that graced the front of the original Q45.

Head shot by Georg Kacher

Contributing Editor

Although I was born the only son of an ornithologist and a postal clerk, it was clear from the start that bird watching and stamp collecting were not my thing. If I had known that God wanted me to grow to 6’8″, I would also have ruled out anything to do with cars, which is to blame for a couple of discs, a torn ligament and that stupid bent back posture the steering While working as a keeper at Aberdeen Zoo, smuggling cheap cigarettes from Yugoslavia to Germany and an embarrassing stint with an amateur drama group also failed to yield fulfillment, he managed and wrote about cars became a much better option. And it still is now. , many years later, as I approach my 70th birthday. I love every aspect of my job except long-haul travel on poor airlines, and I hope it shows.