Infiniti has struggled with sales and establishing a clear brand identity for a long time, but new CEO and former Audi exec Johan De Nysschen has his eye on the long game. Among his plans: a real, honest-to-God performance sub-brand.
We heard at the Detroit Auto Show that De Nysschen has ordered the Q50 Eau Rouge concept into production, and while its engine and exact specs are TBD, he wants it to have at least 500 horsepower.
Now we learn from Automotive News that De Nysschen wants to Eau Rouge-up other Infinitis and make them legit fighters of the Ms and AMGs of the world. Yes, Infiniti has the warmed-up IPL
G37 Coupe Q60, but he and other execs say they need to turn up the heat even more:
"What is absent from our product structure today is a line of really thoroughbred, high-end performance cars that take no prisoners," says Johan de Nysschen, Infiniti worldwide president. "I don't say that every single Infiniti car line should have such a model. But I do say that we need a high-performance subbrand."
Michael Bartsch, who entered as vice president of Infiniti Americas in September, says the packages need to be more competitive.
"We need our own M brand or our own AMG," Bartsch told Automotive News at the auto show here, referring to BMW and Mercedes-Benz's special-package subbrands.
"IPL is there, but it's by no means a fait accompli that it will be the nomenclature for the performance brand for Infiniti. The decision is completely open."
Sounds like good news to me. The only thing better than performance cars is more performance cars, and competition helps to make everyone better. Plus, De Nysschen knows that M3-like cars are critical for attracting attention to the brand and getting others to take them as seriously as they take the Germans.
Bring it on, Infiniti. Eau Rouge all the things!