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Discussion Starter #1
After years of staking its reputation on the cachet of rear-wheel-drive luxury vehicles, Infiniti Division says it can continue just fine with front-wheel-drive platforms, too.


Infiniti's last front-wheel-drive vehicle was the 2000 model year I35, a reworked Nissan Maxima, which was discontinued in 2004. Now, a bevy of new front-wheel products are coming. On Aug. 20, during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Infiniti executives unveiled the Infiniti JX, a roomy three-row luxury crossover that will reach dealerships in April. It comes in front- and all-wheel-drive versions.


Another new fwd vehicle, likely to be revealed this year, will be a small luxury hatchback based on the recently unveiled Infiniti Etherea concept. It will pit Infiniti against the BMW 1-series. Additionally, Infiniti is working on a front-drive luxury electric car that shares a platform with the Nissan Leaf.


"Customers really don't care that much about the platform beneath their car," says Larry Dominique, vice president of product planning for the Americas at Nissan North America Inc. "They care about the car.


"There are limitations with rear-wheel drive that we'd like to work around--like packaging. We can create more interior space if we get away from the technical requirements of rear-wheel. We don't have to have the big rear axle and the big transmission."


He notes that fwd platforms also will help fuel economy.


Dominique acknowledges that some luxury buyers perceive rear-wheel-drive vehicles to be inherently better.


"There is a performance perception with rear-wheel," he says. "But we're comfortable that we don't need rear-wheel to deliver the performance we need. And some of our vehicles, like the G and the M cars, will remain rear-wheel."


Shiro Nakamura, global design chief for Nissan Motor Co. overseeing both Infiniti- and Nissan-brand vehicles, says Infiniti's shift to include front-wheel vehicles also says something about Infiniti's overhaul of its model lineup over the past few years.


"If you look at where we were several years ago, Infiniti's design language was a little too similar to Nissan," Nakamura says. "That was bad for a luxury brand, and we needed to move Infiniti far away. We needed rear-wheel drive to help us differentiate between the brands.

"But I think we've been very successful in achieving that," he says. "Look at all of Infiniti's vehicles. They look nothing like Nissan's."


Nakamura says Infiniti's upcoming electric vehicle will be "completely different" from the Nissan Leaf. "We have successfully captured luxury in our designs," he says. "We don't really need to worry so much about rear-wheel or front-wheel now. We can focus on styling and performance."
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Infiniti backs off rwd-only stance

EBBLE BEACH, Calif.--After years of staking its reputation on the cachet of rear-wheel-drive luxury vehicles, Infiniti Division says it can continue just fine with front-wheel-drive platforms, too.

Infiniti's last front-wheel-drive vehicle was the 2000 model year I35, discontinued in 2004. Now, a bevy of new front-wheel products are coming. On August 20, during the Concours d'Elegance here, Infiniti executives unveiled the Infiniti JX, a roomy three-row luxury crossover that will reach dealerships in April. It comes in front- and all-wheel-drive versions.

Another new fwd vehicle, likely to be revealed this year, will be a small luxury hatchback based on the recently unveiled Infiniti Etherea concept. It will pit Infiniti against the BMW 1 series. Additionally, Infiniti is working on a front-drive luxury electric car that shares a platform with the Nissan Leaf.

"Customers really don't care that much about the platform beneath their car," says Larry Dominique, vice president of product planning for the Americas at Nissan North America. "They care about the car.

"There are limitations with rear-wheel that we'd like to work around--like packaging. We can create more interior space if we get away from the technical requirements of rear-wheel. We don't have to have the big rear axle and the big transmission."

He notes that fwd platforms also will help fuel economy.

Dominique acknowledges that some luxury buyers perceive rear-wheel-drive vehicles to be inherently better.

"There is a performance perception with rear-wheel," he says. "But we're comfortable that we don't need rear-wheel to deliver the performance we need. And some of our vehicles, like the G and the M cars, will remain rear-wheel."

Shiro Nakamura, global design chief for Nissan Motor overseeing both Infiniti- and Nissan-brand vehicles, says Infiniti's shift to include front-wheel vehicles also says something about Infiniti's overhaul of its model lineup over the past few years.

"If you look at where we were several years ago, Infiniti's design language was a little too similar to Nissan," Nakamura says. "That was bad for a luxury brand, and we needed to move Infiniti far away. We needed rear-wheel drive to help us differentiate between the brands.

"But I think we've been very successful in achieving that," he says. "Look at all of Infiniti's vehicles. They look nothing like Nissan's."

Nakamura says Infiniti's upcoming electric vehicle will be "completely different" from the Nissan Leaf. "We have successfully captured luxury in our designs," he says. "We don't really need to worry so much about rear-wheel or front-wheel now. We can focus on styling and performance."

Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-20098792-48/infiniti-backs-off-rwd-only-stance/#ixzz1WdCwcd4L
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is Infiniti Changing To FWD For Future Models?

One of the things that’s led to Infiniti’s success in the luxury market is the handling of its automobiles. Although a few previous models (like the I30 and I35) were built on a front wheel drive platform, the bulk of Infiniti’s cars have been built with a front engine, rear drive configuration. That’s given the automaker the semi-official designation as “the BMW of Japan,” but now Autoweek is reporting that a change may be in the works.

Infiniti, it seems, wants to adopt a front engine, front drive layout for future vehicles. Per Infiniti’s VP of Product Planning, Larry Dominque, “customers really don’t care about the platform beneath the car;” in other words, Infiniti customers are more concerned with styling and interior room than with how their cars handle. I’m not sure I buy into that logic, since every Infiniti customer I’ve ever met knows perfectly well the difference between front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and all wheel drive. Take away one of the things that makes Infiniti unique, and you’ll remove a lot of potential customers from showrooms.

If you guessed that profit was one motive behind the move, you’d be correct. Front engine, front drive platforms are cheaper to build, but they do offer the buyer greater interior room since FWD vehicles can be built with a flat rear floor. They can generate better fuel economy, too, which is a critical concern of all automakers thanks to the pending CAFE standards. Dominque insists that “the performance they need” can be delivered via a front wheel drive platform, but I’d caution him on that point. The performance Infiniti thinks it needs and the performance that Infiniti’s customers expect may be two different things.

Before you start flooding Infiniti with e-mails and phone calls, Dominque insists that Infiniti’s G series and M series, its staple sport sedans, will remain on a front engine, rear drive platform, which leaves the FWD door open for vehicles like the new JX crossover. We’d fight the switch to FWD on sport sedans to the death, but if Infiniti decides that front drive is best for their largest luxury crossovers, I don’t think fans will be storming corporate headquarters with pitchforks and torches.
 

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It's good to see Infiniti is focusing on fuel economy. But I still think RWD should be left as an option as a lot of people still want a RWD car even if fuel prices are high.

I would like to see the G series Infiniti's being offered in AWD along with RWD. It would help with giving the feel of a Nissan GT-R
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The G35x models are AWD. They should offer the G coupe in RWD with a traction and dampening control system similar to the GTR. That would be loved among Nissan/Infiniti enthusiasts.
 

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It's good to see Infiniti is focusing on fuel economy. But I still think RWD should be left as an option as a lot of people still want a RWD car even if fuel prices are high.

I would like to see the G series Infiniti's being offered in AWD along with RWD. It would help with giving the feel of a Nissan GT-R
The G35x models are AWD. They should offer the G coupe in RWD with a traction and dampening control system similar to the GTR. That would be loved among Nissan/Infiniti enthusiasts.
i agree with you guys

The G series coupe/sedan is nearly 1/2 the price of the Nissan GT-R and I bet if the G Series sedan/coupe was offered in RWD & AWD it would bring a lot more tuners. Drifters will love it since when the infiniti warranty is up people will start doing all kinds of stuff to them lol
 
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