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Thread: Infiniti: The Mistreated Underdog?

  1. #1

    Infiniti: The Mistreated Underdog?

    In 2016, Publicity-Shy Infiniti Outsold Tesla 3:1


    Summary

    Contrary to what CNBC and other media attention might suggest, Tesla is not the largest seller of premium cars. Infiniti outsold Tesla 3:1 in 2016.
    Just like Tesla, most of Infiniti's sales are in the U.S. 60% in 2016 to be exact, down from 62% in 2015.
    Infiniti grew 140% in West Europe in 2016, thanks in part to a new model being assembled in the U.K. (Infiniti’s production in Europe).
    Tesla grew 50% and Infiniti 7%. If you assume these growth rates going forward, Tesla would pass Infiniti in 2020.
    Infiniti is developing its first electric car to launch in 2020. Consider the fact that Infiniti is owned by Nissan, maker of the LEAF.

    The automotive industry is filled with interesting comparisons and contrasts. Some companies receive outsized attention for very small numbers. Other companies toil away in the quiet, without fanfare - all while delivering on impressive numbers.

    One such comparison is between Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Infiniti. Infiniti? Yes, Infiniti. That's Nissan's (OTCPK:NSANY) luxury car division. It's been selling cars in the U.S. for just over the quarter-century mark: here.

    However, you don't hear much about Infiniti in the financial press. CNBC does not report on its new models or on its CEO's tweets. It's as if it was selling far fewer cars than Tesla.
    Based on its preliminary reporting for the December quarter, Tesla sold 76,233 cars in 2016, up 50% from 2015.

    Tesla Global 2016 2015 Change y/y
    1Q 14810 10045 47%
    2Q 14402 11532 25%
    3Q 24821 11603 114%
    4Q 22200 17478 27%
    TOTAL 76233 50658 50%

    As you can see in the table above, while the quarterly growth rate was very uneven, ranging from 25% to 114%, at a 50% annual average, it was still very strong. One of the strongest in the automotive industry (Jaguar (NYSE:TTM) was up 77% in 2016 and was double the absolute size of Tesla).

    At 76,233 units in 2016, Tesla constituted less than one-thousandth of the world-wide automotive industry, which now handily exceeds 76 million units per year. So now onto a good example of what garners less attention than not only Tesla, but also industry growth leader Jaguar.

    And that would be Infiniti. It sold 230,000 cars in 2016.

    Infiniti Global 2016 2015 Change y/y 2016 share 2015 share
    USA 138293 133498 4% 60% 62%
    Canada 12140 11300 7% 5% 5%
    Mexico 2220 1805 23% 1% 1%
    West Europe 16800 7000 140% 7% 3%
    China 41590 40200 3% 18% 19%
    Asia/Oceania 6700 5678 18% 3% 3%
    Rest of World 12430 15769 -21% 5% 7%
    TOTAL 230173 215250 7% 100% 100%

    As you can see in the table above, Infiniti's geographic distribution shifted a little bit in 2016 when compared to 2015. By far, the best performer was West Europe.

    This superior performance in West Europe was likely because of the introduction of the all-new UK-built QX30 crossover/hatchback, which some (very) generously label an "SUV." This model was heavily focused on Europe and caused West Europe overall to be up 140% for Infiniti in 2016.

    Infiniti's decline came from the "rest of world" which appears to be a combination of Russia/Eastern Europe and the Middle East. No surprise there.

    But overall, Infiniti selling 230,000 units made it three times as large as Tesla in 2016. Did CNBC report this? Did anyone else? I didn't think so either.

    The U.S. was up 4% for Infiniti, which still meant the slightest decline in its sales percentage for the U.S. - globally it was up 7% - so how did its U.S. sales break down in 2016?

    Infiniti USA 2016 2015 Change y/y 2016 share 2015 share
    Q40 59 8605 -99% 0% 6%
    Q50 44007 43874 0% 32% 33%
    Q60 3970 3949 1% 3% 3%
    Q70 5872 8449 -31% 4% 6%
    QX30 2259 N/A 2% 0%
    QX50 16973 5468 210% 12% 4%
    QX60 42120 41770 1% 30% 31%
    QX70 6261 5737 9% 5% 4%
    QX80 16772 15646 7% 12% 12%
    TOTAL 138293 133498 4%

    As you can see in the table above, Infiniti sells four sedans/coupes (Q) and five crossovers/SUVs (QX) in the U.S. market. What were the notable changes in 2016?

    On the downside, the Q40 model went away, and the Q70 - its largest sedan - saw a 31% decline. This was more than compensated mostly by the QX50 crossover-SUV model. Its U.S. sales more than tripled in 2016.

    The dramatic success of the Infiniti QX50 in 2016 is all the more remarkable because the QX50 stands out as the oldest-looking vehicle in the Infiniti portfolio. It just looks out of date compared to all the others in the Infiniti showroom.

    At the January 2017 Detroit Auto Show, Infiniti showed the replacement for the QX50 in concept car form: here.

    Basically, expect the actual all-new QX50 to arrive within approximately the next year or so. If it looks anything like the concept car - it likely will - one supposes that it could grow its sales even further.

    How long time until Tesla catches up with Infiniti?

    Perhaps Tesla's growth rate will soon decline rapidly - or even shrink below zero - and it will never catch up with Infiniti. But let's take Tesla's current annual growth rate of 50%, as well as Infiniti's 7%, and see how soon these two companies would "get close" at the rate of current trends.

    2017
    If Tesla grew 50% on top of 76,233, it would be at 114,350.
    If Infiniti grew 7% on top of 230,173, it would be at 246,285.

    2018

    If Tesla grew 50% on top of 114,350, it would be at 171,524.
    If Infiniti grew 7% on top of 246,285, it would be at 263,525.

    2019

    If Tesla grew 50% on top of 171,524, it would be at 257,286.
    If Infiniti grew 7% on top of 263,525, it would be at 281,972.

    2020

    If Tesla grew 50% on top of 257,286, it would be at 385,930.
    If Infiniti grew 7% on top of 281,972, it would be at 301,710.

    So basically, Tesla growing at 50% and Infiniti at 7% results in Tesla pacing ahead of Infiniti some time in calendar-year 2020. These are big assumptions - for both companies - and these growth rates are unlikely to continue for another four years exactly the way they did in 2016 and 2015. Either company - Tesla and Infiniti - can outperform or underperform these projected growth rates.
    Of course, these growth rates say nothing about profitability or balance sheet, let alone risk-adjusted returns. Infiniti is part of Nissan and does not carry any net debt, and Nissan as a whole is eminently profitable. Tesla has never put in a profitable year and carries billions of dollars in debt.

    Speaking of 2020, that's when we expect Infiniti to make available its first all-electric car. Infiniti's corporate parent Nissan has multiple electric cars in the market - including the LEAF - and development of the first all-electric Infiniti has finally started. I expect to see it in concept car form as early as 2018.


    My Opin.

    Former: 2007 Nissan Altima 3.5SE Sedan 6MT [Totaled :( ]
    Current: 2013 Infiniti G37S 6MT Sedan

  2. #2
    I can't help but notice that the automotive media tends to downplay Infiniti a lot, if they even acknowledge them. While all of us here know Infiniti has made some mistakes in the past, we are coming out of the dark days into what seems to be much brighter ones with new product rolling out.

    But back to the media... despite Infiniti's extremely aged product line up for the last 3-4 years, Infiniti has remained flat, and didn't lose much ground in the thick of it when the only thing that was new was the Q50 and is now growing at a significant rate compared to the rest of the luxury segment, coming off its best sales month ever (Dec 16) and best ever January last month and just may pass Cadillac and Acura this year (And thats only speaking of US sales). Of course Infiniti is still not considered a volume luxury maker like MB, BMW and Lexus, but they are growing when many others aren't. And the growth on a global scale is even better. And the media makes no mention of it. Things will only get better when the new QX50 hits lots, possibly at the end of this year. They are projecting it, like the Rogue, will be its top selling product. In the US alone the Q50 moved 44k units last year, meaning the QX50 alone could add, at a minimum, 40k units to Infiniti's bottom line. Meaning Infiniti could close out 2018 surpassing 200k in the US alone...

    This article kinda confirms what I thought I had noticed and compares Infiniti to Tesla, who is the press queen, good or bad. But his argument points out the mainstream media as well.

    Besides that, here we are YEARS later and almost every Infiniti review STILL starts off with mention of the name changes. To me it seems that no matter what strides Infiniti takes, the press will downplay Infiniti's success and potential. I always hear or read "expensive for an Infiniti" or referring to the cars as "the Nissan". Both aggravate me and just signifies that these cars are barelt given a chance.

    And the lamenting of the Q50... so unwarranted. I now drive a G37S and had a base Q50 with 19s as a loaner and theres a nice curve I take every morning... Took the Q50 around it at 60mph and the car felt so planted and stable... My G37S... not so much. My car feels planted and stable at 50... pushing it past that and it doesn't feel no where near as planted as the Q50, a base one at that!
    Last edited by NissLover; 02-08-2017 at 05:42 PM.
    My Opin.

    Former: 2007 Nissan Altima 3.5SE Sedan 6MT [Totaled :( ]
    Current: 2013 Infiniti G37S 6MT Sedan

  3. #3
    Not sure why these vehicles are being compared. I do have a question though. Why would the name change, as part of a review, not be a topic? It's not like Infiniti truly didn't anything with it. Seems like a plan gone bad to me. I've seen little change since, that matters. Your G should best the Q in feel and real world experience. Just because you know what is happening. HP could be a difference?

  4. #4
    Just can't get behind the Q50, have driven several as loaners & I'm just not impressed. I don't care for the design/look of the instrument cluster and the whole 2 screen thing is just ridiculous. Even my wife (who usually doesn't care about stuff like this) commented on how boring it was & found the dual screens a distraction at best. Then there are the 10 different 'models' to choose from + the insane combo of pkgs/options you are forced to order based on your color & interior choices. The base colors & interiors are the same old colors that have been around for at least 15 years. Jump to the sport model (to get the 3.0t engine & the only nice blue they offer anymore) and to get the upgraded Havana Leather you need to fully load the car (inc. the crappy DAS & equally crappy run-flat tires ) topping it out @ $55k

    Thanks, but I'll stick with my '03, which is way more fun to hustle thru the twisties (especially now that she's sporting Continental Extreme Contact DWS's).

    And say what you like, but the whole name change thing was major stupid IMO. They tossed away the recognition & identities they had build on for 20+ years for what ?? It's not even unique in the industry since Audi uses the "Q" designation now as well.
    Last edited by MikeD; 02-09-2017 at 12:27 AM.
    2016 Challenger Hellcat, Max Steel/Black - A8 trans, Navi, Carbon Fiber Stripes

    2009 G37 Convertible - Athens Blue/Bone - Premium, Sport, Navi

    2003.5 G35s Caribbean Blue - Premium, Wood, Spoiler

    2016 Mustang GT Premium, Guard/Ebony - Roush SuperCharger & loads more ** Lemon Lawed @ 1200 miles
    2009 M45s - Black Obsidian/Graphite - Sport, Tech, Advanced Tech, Wood, Spoiler ** GONE !
    2007 Titan LE Crew - Deep Water Blue - ** GONE
    2002 Q45 Desert Platinum - Sport & Sunshade Pkg ** GONE !

  5. #5
    I never said I don't prefer my G to the Q50... I def enjoy the feel in the G more and the 6-spd and was ready to get back in my car, BUT the Q def puts down better numbers and is overall a much more refined car, which is where the G would always came up short in reviews. Car is not refined, complain... Refine the car... its no longer raw... complain. So lose/lose for Infiniti.

    But in MY experience, the Q felt like it was in a different league of cars going around that curve compared to me G. Yes the G feels better from a steering point of view but the Q felt so planted and stable going a full 10mph faster around the turn versus my G, and I felt like I could push it even more if I had the room to do so because there seemed to be so much grip. And it was on runflats!

    But as far as the name change... I really think people made/make a much bigger deal about it than it really was. Lets keep it real... if the general public saw the G37 go to G20 and G30 they would have thought it was a downgrade and most people didn't even know what the 37 meant. And looking to the future, expanding the lineup they would have ran into trademark issues with the naming system they had before. There are only so many appealing sounding letters, and most of them are used by their competitors. So yes Q is used by Audi, but we all know Infiniti used it first with the original Q45. And the fact is Infiniti did not have THAT MUCH brand equity to lose. Lets be real people. The G had really just caught on in the mid 2000s, and the FX as well. If you would have brought up any of the other names people would have no idea what you're talking about.

    But the point I was trying to make is Infiniti is experiencing growth that is undeniable, DESPITE their flaws, but it seems to be going under the radar. But I guess they have alienated the audience here so I guess it's a moot point.
    Last edited by NissLover; 02-09-2017 at 05:36 PM.
    My Opin.

    Former: 2007 Nissan Altima 3.5SE Sedan 6MT [Totaled :( ]
    Current: 2013 Infiniti G37S 6MT Sedan

  6. #6
    Its going to take a little more time for Infiniti to be treated fairly. You cant blame the media or magazines, so many changes take place at infiniti whether it be changes in management or the naming scheme they took on lately. The struggle and identity crises is visible to everyone and that's a fact. The Q60 if not the QX50 will be the start for Infiniti. It should pack a lot of technology in driver tech as well as a new engine we are all aware of. The design is beautiful in my opinion and space seems to be adequate for the class. Once a few more models roll out and "not half assed" they should get the recognition they have been striving for.

  7. #7
    I don't see how anyone can say the name change didn't have negative effects on Infiniti. I defy anyone who isn't an Infiniti aficionado to understand which model is which, even if they basically understood the old naming convention.

    The name change went into effect with 2014 models, so the renamed models started showing up in 2013, going on 4 years ago. The car people I know still try to relate the new model names to the old ones, aka, "Let's see, now the Q70 ... is that the old G37? No, wait, it's the M. But what is the Q60, then? Is that the G37? Or is it one of the SUV's? No, I think those are all QX's. I'm still confused."

    If you don't have a decoder ring, you have to go to the Infiniti website to figure it out. Which probably makes Infiniti happy. But it doesn't solve the confusion of flavors de Nysschen created, and lost sales seems to support the notion it was a bad idea.
    If someone blows up a school with a bomb they go after the bomber ... if someone shoots up a school they go after the gun.

    A privilege is just a right that has been taken away by government.

    Political correctness is cowardice wrapped in a lie.
    ________________________________

    2013 Acura RDX Tech, 30% tints, hardwired Escort 8500 X50

    2011 Infiniti M56, 30% ceramic tint, hard-wired Escort 8500 X50, LED cabin and trunk lighting - traded!


  8. #8
    When did they lose sales? Since the name change Infiniti was either flat or reporting growth. The name change happened at the beginning of 2013... The name change had no impact on sales. If anything old product should be doing major damage, but it didn't/hasn't. And if you cant figure out the name system... then the problem is NOT the naming system. It is extremely simple. No one could tell you what a M37/56 was and they still probably can't tell you what a Q70 is. Infiniti knew they had nothing to lose with changing the name to prepare for a future expanded line-up with smaller engines. And its been stated that de Nysschen was not behind the name change, it was something that was established BEFORE he came on, it just so happen to be implemented when he came aboard.

    Look... the fact is Infiniti has a 9 model lineup and 5 (or 55% of their lineup) are 7 years are older and they are selling more cars now than they did in what we look back on as the glory days. My point of this whole thread IS NOT to excuse the mistakes, but to acknowledge the potential of Infiniti, which at this point is undeniable. Its as if anyone tries to mention their potential, the past is brought up to try and negate it, but the proof is in the numbers. If they can do this with such a handicap of 55% of their lineup being dated, imagine when they start rolling out new and redesigned models.

    Year
    Infiniti Brand
    U.S. Sales
    2002
    87,911
    2003
    118,655
    2004
    130,980
    2005
    136,401
    2006
    121,146
    2007
    127,037
    2008
    112,989
    2009
    81,089
    2010
    103,411
    2011
    98,461
    2012
    119,877
    2013
    116,455
    2014
    117,330
    2015
    133,498
    2016
    138,293
    2017 YTD *
    11,558


    In 2016 they sold an average of 11,500 cars... they sold 11,558 last month in the slowest month of the year...
    Last edited by NissLover; 02-10-2017 at 12:09 PM.
    My Opin.

    Former: 2007 Nissan Altima 3.5SE Sedan 6MT [Totaled :( ]
    Current: 2013 Infiniti G37S 6MT Sedan

  9. #9
    http://wardsauto.com/industry/despite-lost-sales-infiniti-says-name-change-right-move


    Despite Lost Sales, Infiniti Says Name Change Right Move


    SAN DIEGO – Changing its vehicle names two years ago to variants of Q and QX harmed Infiniti sales and awareness in the U.S., but company officials still believe it was the right thing to do.


    “We saw a drop pretty much across the board when we switched names,” Sean McNamara, senior manager-product planning for Infiniti Americas tells media at a ’16 QX50 event here.


    The nomenclature change was shepherded by former Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen, now president of Cadillac, to align the Japanese luxury marque more closely with its German competitors as it expanded globally.


    Infiniti’s naming convention most specifically mimics de Nysschen’s former employer Audi, which uses A for its cars and Q for its utility vehicles. Both brands assign a number or numbers after the letters to indicate vehicle size, segmentation and price. For instance, the upcoming Q30 will be Infiniti’s compact car, while the A3 is Audi’s.
    It’s difficult to bear out the phenomenon using sales data due to Infiniti’s relatively old lineup and segment trends, but in cases where a vehicle’s name was changed but the vehicle was not updated sales did slide, WardsAuto data shows.


    The EX and FX CUVs saw the most precipitous declines when their names were changed to QX50 and QX70, respectively.
    Infiniti sold 8,312 EXs in 2010, but just 2,727 QX50s last year, while the brand tallied 10,420 FX deliveries in 2010 but roughly half that, 5,213, last year.
    The EX/QX50 has not been fully redesigned since it debuted in 2007, while the FX hasn't gotten a total overhaul since 2008.


    Sales of the M, in the long-shrinking mid-large sedan segment, fell from 14,618 in 2010, to 10,818 in 2011, to 9,130 in 2012 and 5,283 in 2013, WardsAuto data shows.
    The vehicle was renamed Q70 in conjunction with a refresh for the ’14 model year and sales in 2014 were 5,034.
    Buyers no doubt have been especially confused about the brand’s midsize-car lineup. Infiniti sold the G37 sedan or coupe prior to the name changes. When the successor to the G sedan came out two years ago, the Q50, Infiniti continued to sell the G sedan for price reasons, but the G coupe became the Q60. Infiniti has kept the G 4-door in the lineup but last year renamed it the Q40.


    McNamara says the QX80 large SUV was one of the rare Infinitis that didn’t take that much of a hit when the nomenclature switch occurred, as its prior name, QX56, was similar and the vehicle was well into its second generation.


    Infiniti now is “digging our way out of” the naming switch and awareness of the brand and its models has been improving, he says.
    If someone blows up a school with a bomb they go after the bomber ... if someone shoots up a school they go after the gun.

    A privilege is just a right that has been taken away by government.

    Political correctness is cowardice wrapped in a lie.
    ________________________________

    2013 Acura RDX Tech, 30% tints, hardwired Escort 8500 X50

    2011 Infiniti M56, 30% ceramic tint, hard-wired Escort 8500 X50, LED cabin and trunk lighting - traded!


  10. #10
    The above is from October, 2015, but it supports the fact that sales - and brand awareness - were harmed. Yes, they sold more total vehicles in the years following the change, but the rate of increase in sales apparently dropped.

    It's pretty well accepted that the naming convention change hurt Infniti, and the blame is placed on de Nysschen.
    If someone blows up a school with a bomb they go after the bomber ... if someone shoots up a school they go after the gun.

    A privilege is just a right that has been taken away by government.

    Political correctness is cowardice wrapped in a lie.
    ________________________________

    2013 Acura RDX Tech, 30% tints, hardwired Escort 8500 X50

    2011 Infiniti M56, 30% ceramic tint, hard-wired Escort 8500 X50, LED cabin and trunk lighting - traded!


  11. #11
    Going from Arthur Anderson to Accenture is a good example of a reason to change names. They should have been axed off the planet though. Going from a growing real brand without real changes and then switching names is just stupid. But it does emulate the overall Infiniti experience ending always with a question mark.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_TX View Post
    The above is from October, 2015, but it supports the fact that sales - and brand awareness - were harmed. Yes, they sold more total vehicles in the years following the change, but the rate of increase in sales apparently dropped.

    It's pretty well accepted that the naming convention change hurt Infniti, and the blame is placed on de Nysschen.
    c a

    Maybe it was a setup up to help him at Cadillac? But then again, Cadillac has been selling more then Infiniti for awhile. Who knows.
    Current:

    1981 280ZX Turbo, (failed inspection, back in drydock, HELP!!!)
    2012 G37S 6MT Black on Black.
    2013 Pathfinder Platinum Premium
    Previously Owned:

    2006 G35 6MT Black on Black.(Sold)
    2009 Murano SL (Sold)
    2004 Armada SE 4X4 (Sold)
    2000 Maxima SE 5 Speed(Sold)
    1997 Hardbody 5 Speed (Sold)
    1982 200SX 5 speed(Sold)
    1981 200SX 5 speed (Sold)
    Other Cars:
    2000 Toyota Tundra
    1995 5 speed Dodge Neon
    1981 Chevy Chevette
    1972 Buick Century

  13. #13
    Caddy's depreciate fast. Don't know entirely why but they seem to use the model, where they get the most from every new sale, buyer willing.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Indemand View Post
    Caddy's depreciate fast. Don't know entirely why but they seem to use the model, where they get the most from every new sale, buyer willing.
    Boy, that's true! We haven't had a Cadillac in the family for some time, but they've always taken a dump immediately upon sale. They think enough of their products to charge a premium price for them, but turn up their nose when you try to trade one back in. What other car loses 50% of its value in one year?
    If someone blows up a school with a bomb they go after the bomber ... if someone shoots up a school they go after the gun.

    A privilege is just a right that has been taken away by government.

    Political correctness is cowardice wrapped in a lie.
    ________________________________

    2013 Acura RDX Tech, 30% tints, hardwired Escort 8500 X50

    2011 Infiniti M56, 30% ceramic tint, hard-wired Escort 8500 X50, LED cabin and trunk lighting - traded!


  15. #15
    I would refute the whole name being est. by JdN, but I can't remember the source of where I read or saw it, and its not that serious for me to be searching for it. I am also not sure how they measured if the lost a few sales because of product age or new names.
    My Opin.

    Former: 2007 Nissan Altima 3.5SE Sedan 6MT [Totaled :( ]
    Current: 2013 Infiniti G37S 6MT Sedan

  16. #16
    How many disastermobiles has Infiniti had before the QX30 and maybe the Q50? Not many.
    "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses." They're not gonna catch us. We're on a Mission from God. Hit it.

    From the book of 1 Avalonians: Thou shalt not park a Nissan Maxima in thine driveway and thou shalt not have any gods before Toyotathon.

  17. #17
    I'm not sure they ever have. Even the one's they didn't sell turned into fringe classics.

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