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It has been less than 30 years since the top secret Horizon Task Force was formed to design and execute a whole new level of luxury in automobiles.
The widespread spending spree that defines the 1980’s opened up a growing market of consumers who wanted a vehicle that was above and beyond ordinary. The luxury class was thriving with brands like BMW and Mercedes Benz raking in profits. The Japanese rooted Nissan Motor Company decided to get in on the high priced vehicle action and established a top secret division, known as the Horizon Task Force, in 1985 to research and develop a luxury line for their brand.
In order to one up the competition, Nissan looked at the entire car buying and ownership package. They not only wanted to epitomize the luxury car, they wanted the experience of buying and owning one to be luxurious as well. Their research extended into studying luxury hotels and stores to determine how a customer who is shopping and paying for the best expects to be treated. The luxury car endeavor Nissan was getting ready to make would be all encompassing, and risky.
The task force was looking at how customer service influenced buying power. They focused on studying customer oriented company’s like Nordstrom and Federal Express to see how they were treating their consumers. The design of the new showrooms had a luxury hotel feel to them, right down to the last detail, thanks to influence from the Four Seasons Hotel. What we now know as the Infiniti Total Ownership Experience was meant to provide a superior customer experience and include amenities such as free loaners during a service.
In 1987 the name Infiniti was born. The unique spelling with the two central lines trailing off to an unknown destination was a symbol of Nissan’s desire for their new brand to always be looking ahead towards the future, or infinity.
51 U.S. dealers opened their doors on November 8, 1989 to debut the brand new Infiniti Q45 luxury sedan and M30 performance coupe. With only two models and a focus on the customers total experience, it did not take long for Infiniti to gain recognition in the industry. They were awarded many times over, including J.D. Power and Associates’ highest rank in their customer service rank 3 times.
As a luxury line, the Infiniti brand grew strong and steady throughout the 1990’s. Performance was never compromised for style and the Q45 evolved to meet the needs of the customer. The M30 was replaced with the G20 sports sedan and other designs quickly were added to the showroom floors including the QX4 luxury SVU.
Crossing the threshold into the new century, Infiniti continued to expand its market and their per-unit sales surpassed the 100,000 per year mark in 2003. Their innovative luxury cars were receiving rave reviews, and their competitors quickly realized that this new brand was putting a sharp dent in their sales. In just under 3 decades, the Infiniti proved that it takes more than a fast engine and sharp looking body to build a strong reputation.
Today, the Infiniti has made a name for itself around the globe by showcasing its line-up in over 230 dealers in 15 different countries.
Q50 – The Q50 is the replacement model for the highly popular G37, which had originated in Infiniti’s early days. As a sports sedan, it competes with and surpasses, the BMW 3 with an upgraded body design and strong power from the 328 horse power engine. Infiniti is also offering the sleek sedan as a hybrid vehicle.
Q60 – More a sports car then a family car, the Q60 has a 3.7 liter V-6, with 330 horse power packing some punch on acceleration. Its small frame allows it to corner like a dream. Available as a hard top convertible, this is the car you want to cruise around town in.
Q70 – This midsize luxury sedan is monstrously powerful, getting 330 horse power from its 3.7 liter V-6 engine. Rear wheel driven, you get the road handling and steering response found only in much smaller vehicles. You can also purchase the Q70 as a powerful hybrid.
QX50 – As a cross over vehicle, the QX50 is lacking in interior space. While the hatchback profile gives it an aerodynamic appeal, the sloping rear roofline compromises the cargo space. It still drives the way you expect an Infiniti to, with unmistakable power behind the gas pedal and a smooth handling that makes driving it fun. QX60 – A larger crossover with 3 rows of leather covered seating, the QX60 is the perfect luxury car for the family minded. For the green minded, the hybrid version offers an impressive 26 MPG combined, impressive given the size of the car. QX70 – If you have a passion for off road driving, and want to look good and be comfortable while doing it, the QX70 is for you. The luxury SVU has an impressive 325 horse power V-6 engine and handles like a sports car thanks to the low center of gravity.
QX80 –The full size SVU makes an impressive appearance as it barrels down the highway. The powerful 5.6 liter V-8 under the hood puts 400 horse power in the palm of your hands as you sit in what feels like a luxury apartment on wheels.
The Infiniti brand will be the first to admit that they do not create luxury automobiles to appeal to the masses, but rather they want to produce cars that a relatively few will find that they absolutely cannot live without. With that in mind, they are looking ahead and already making strides to ensure their continued acceptance in a class that does not readily accept the offerings of the new guy.