Infiniti is Japanese automaker Nissan's luxury automobile division and was established in North America in 1989. After receiving somewhat of a less-than-enthusiastic response (believed to be due to unsuccessful advertising tactics), the cars, originally labeled Infinity with a y, eventually found their way into the public's hearts. A few years later, the brand expanded into the UK, the Middle East, Taiwan, China, Ukraine, and Russia and other European countries in 2008. Overall, the Infiniti network is made up of over two hundred dealers in more than fifteen countries.
When Infinity was originally launched, Nissan wanted to pin it in a new luxury vehicle segment- much like Honda's Acura and Toyota's Lexus brans; however, the company also wanted to target a mainstream image, due to Japanese Voluntary Export Restraints for the American market and the Plaza Accord of 1985's plan to diminish the American dollar. Nissan saw a place in the market for luxury, and hopped on the idea. However, their Zen advertising concepts and themes didn't catch the eye of the American. public; they might have been tranquil, but they didn't boost sales. During this time, models like the 2-door M30 (an upgraded Nissan Leopard which challenged the Lexus SC) left the company lagging behind its Toyota and Acura competitors. Eventually, when Infiniti's ads became more focused on the actual Infiniti vehicles, the brand saw a huge rise in sales.
Various Infiniti models met with mediocre success in the beginning, but it was really the Infiniti Q45 that incited popularity and brand loyalty for the company. The Infiniti Q45 had one of the best engines ever made: a 278 horsepower V8 engine, along with four-wheel steering. The Q45's well-appointed cabin also put it on a much higher level, as far as luxury was concerned, in the public's opinion. The brand was on its way to success, but it would take a step backward with the Infiniti M30, which couldn't keep up with the standards that were put in place by the Q45. The public was disappointed by its 162 hp Nissan VG30E 3000 engine and lackluster 4-speed automatic transmission. It was taken out of the market after only three years' time.
Infiniti made a comeback with the Infiniti QX4, one of the most popular luxury SUV s to ever hit the market. It offered great standard features, and even beat out Infiniti's tough Acura competitor in terms of sales and popularity. The QX4 was a response to the Lexus LX SUV and Acura's larger SLX SUV. The Japanese price bubble hurt the brand in the 2000s, but Infiniti overcame these struggles with models like the Infiniti G35 in 2003. Infiniti came to re-brand itself as the "Japanese BMW." The brand has recently begun blending rear-wheel and front-wheel-drive into its vehicles, similar to the Lexus brand. For the year 2011, the G lineup (made up of convertible, sedan, and coupe models) accounts for 60 percent of Infiniti sales. The Infiniti brand is sometimes marketed as Nissan internationally, especially in Japan. For example, there the Infiniti G is the Nissan Skyline coupe and sedan. However, the original Infiniti Q45 was sold as the Nissan Infiniti Q45 in Japan.