Insight: why Infiniti faces hard slog

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Infiniti has also been hit by new WLTP emission testing regulations that came in at the start of September. The 1.5-litre diesel version of the Q30 was the bestselling model, but the Renault-Nissan Alliance axed the engine ahead of the switch to WLTP regulations. 

Meanwhile, all versions of the Q50 – a BMW 3 Series rival – have been temporarily taken off sale after the best-selling 2.2-litre diesel was stopped. Also cut this year were the Q60 coupé (which only went on sale in late 2016) and the Q70, the bigger saloon. Age caught up with the QX70 SUV last year and it, too, was dropped. 

But amazingly, Infiniti is standing firm, despite UK sales of just 3252 to the end of October. Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn previously said that removing a brand from a market is an anathema to him because it’s so hard to return. In line with this thinking, Infiniti will continue in its shrunken state until new models arrive, a spokesman for the firm told Autocar. 

“Once you’re in, it’s important to stay to continue supporting the brand and our customers,” a spokesman for Infiniti told us. “It’s a long road in terms of raising brand awareness and getting the right product.” 

The first model to arrive is the returning Q50, which goes back on sale in the UK early next year with the newly homologated 3.5-litre V6 petrol hybrid. 

Next year, the firm will also launch a new QX50 SUV, which will go head to head with the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. The Germans are unlikely to be quaking but, in theory, the car, which has already gone on sale in the US to generally decent reviews, could win the brand some badly needed fans. 

After that will come Infiniti’s much hailed pivot to electrification from 2021. So far, we’ve heard little about what that will bring, other than that it will include pure-electric models and hybrids using Nissan’s e-Power system. 

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