New Infiniti Concept Hints at Challenging Panamera, But Why?

Infiniti Q80

For a long time I thought Mitsubishi would be the next car brand to die in the U.S., but now I’m not so sure, because another brand here is showing signs of slowly bleeding out.

Last month, Mitsubishi sales were actually up 29 percent compared with this month last year, while Infiniti sales dropped nearly 23 percent.

Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan, suffers from a bit of an identity crisis as it tries to compete with Audi, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and, yes, even Porsche.

The problem is that all of those companies do at least one thing very well, be it luxury, performance, panache or all three. Can you name what Infiniti does well?

Design. In my humble opinion, Infiniti designs are subtle but sexy, but they tend to blend in with the rest of what’s out there. There have been some concepts that are absolutely stunning, but those never seem to reach production.

With sinking sales numbers, Infiniti has to act fast before the overlords at Nissan decide to put the kibosh on the whole thing. One way to do that is to start at the top and hope the interest trickles down to other cars. Autocar says,

Infiniti has released a preview picture of its new concept car, which will make its debut at the Paris motor show next month.

The concept, dubbed Q80 Inspiration, is described as a “low-slung, ingeniously aggressive four-passenger fastback” and previews a production car which will sit at the very top of Infiniti’s range.

While details on the new model are scarce, Infiniti’s long-held plans to take on luxury rivals like Porsche with a larger sports saloon are well known.

Of all the cars to compete with, why choose the Porsche Panamera, which we can only assume is the “large sports saloon” referenced above? It’s a bloated mild-selling sedan that some say is the Porsche that should have never been built.

Compete with the Boxster.

Compete with the 911.

Heck, compete with the Macan, purely because it will be bonkers on the sales floor.

Putting a competitor to the Panamera out there will do nothing to boost sales numbers, and it won’t take many more months of sales declines before keeping Infiniti around just isn’t worth the trouble.

Can Infiniti be saved?

-tgriffith

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