Infiniti History and Highlights: Inception to 2004
On November 8, 1989, after years of study and planning, Infiniti opened the doors of its first 51 dealers. On the showroom floors were two brand new models, the breakthrough Q45 performance luxury sedan and the driver-oriented M30 performance luxury coupe. Fast forward to 2004, there are now more than 160 Infiniti dealerships that are stocked with exciting coupes, sedans, crossovers and SUV's, including two recently introduced models: the G35 Sedan AWD and the QX56 full-size luxury SUV.
When the QX56 went on sale last February (2004), it became Infiniti's fourth V8-powered vehicle, joining the Q45 and M45 sedans and FX45 crossover SUV, and the third to feature all-wheel drive, along with the FX and the G35 Sedan AWD. All together, the Infiniti V8s boast 32 cylinders, 19.1 liters, 1,310 horsepower and 1,388 lb-ft torque. Four massive V8s and three all-wheel drives equal an impressive Infiniti lineup.
These all-new models have generated a buzz in the automotive industry and taken home numerous prestigious awards. 2004 began with the FX45 winning the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Canadian Car of the Year (CCOY) award for Best New MPV / Crossover Vehicle, while the G35 Sport Coupe earned the CCOY title for Best New Sports Coupe (over $35,000).
The G35 Sport Coupe continued to receive accolades when AutoWeek Magazine named it 'America's Best Coupe' for 2004 and when it joined the QX56 and FX models on Auto World Magazine's '50 Great Picks' list for the magazine's 2004 version of the annual Buyer's Guide. Along with the three Infiniti vehicles, the magazine also labeled the 2005 FX's recently revealed Lane Departure Warning system technology as one of the industries 'Best New Technologies.'
On top of all the individual awards received by Infiniti vehicles, Infiniti as a whole has ranked highest in J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Index (CSI) study three times in its short history, topping the list most recently in 2003.
Along with the various awards, Infiniti is also setting sales records. Infiniti's commitment to quality products and service has resulted in over 950,000 cumulative sales (through July 2004) since 1989. August 2003 was the best individual sales month in Infiniti history with 12,988 units sold. And, Infiniti CY03 sales registered 118,655 units sold, a 35.0 percent increase versus CY02 and the first time Infiniti sales have topped the 100,000-unit mark in a calendar year.
'At Infiniti, we have continued to take steps forward in the luxury automobile segment, and that has continued to be recognized by both respected automotive publications and studies and consistently increasing sales figures,' said Mark Igo, vice president and general manager, Infiniti Division. 'The technology, luxury, style and performance embodied in the 2005 model year line-up will make for exciting new steps in our tradition of advancement.'
As Infiniti has grown from two models to a full lineup of performance-oriented luxury sedans, coupes and SUVs, the Infiniti dealer body has kept pace ¬- not only in number but in the ability to maintain Infiniti's legendary attention to customer satisfaction while serving many more models and customers. All current Infiniti dealerships will be redesigned and expanded to accommodate this growing lineup of Infiniti vehicles. Infiniti Timeline
Listed below in timeline form is the account of how Infiniti went from a task force in 1985 to one of the industry's leading luxury divisions in 2004. Such events include the first market study in 1985, the launch of the division in 1989, the introduction of each new model, major sales landmarks and the various awards Infiniti has received for its class-leading vehicles and extraordinary service. Pre-Launch
November 1985 - 'Horizon' Task Force formed to study luxury franchise market opportunity.
November 1986 - Decision made to proceed with formation of luxury division.
December 1986 - Development of the Q45 begins.
July 1987 - The name 'Infiniti' is selected for the new division.
August 1987 - Idea of the 'Total Ownership Experience' (TOE) is developed. The TOE is a philosophy Infiniti abides by to create quality products, provide outstanding service and make Infiniti ownership a pleasant experience.
September 1987 - Three Infiniti Regional offices established – East (Edison, NJ), Central (Naperville, IL), and West (Irvine, CA)
January 1988 - First Dealer, Ken Ellegard, Discover Infiniti, signs Infiniti letter of intent.
November 1988 - Q45/M30 introduced at dealer meeting at Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, California.
January 1989 - Q45/M30 introduced to the public at the Detroit and Los Angeles Auto Shows.
August 1989 - G20 unveiled to dealers at New York Auto Show.
September 1989 - Infiniti training renamed Infiniti University. First Infiniti University Launch Training class graduates. Launch
November 1989 - Infiniti Division launches with 51 dealers; 1990 Q45 and M30 go on sale.
April 1990 - World leader Full-Active Suspension™ unveiled at New York Auto Show; first public viewing of the G20.
September 1990 - 1991 G20 goes on sale
December 1990 - Q45 named to Road & Track magazine's '10 Best' list.
July 1991 - J.D. Power and Associates announces that Infiniti ties for first place in 'Customer Satisfaction Index.'
January 1992 - J30 unveiled in the United Sates at the Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows.
March 1992 - 1993 J30 goes on sale.
July 1992 - J.D. Power and Associates announces that Infiniti wins first place in 'Initial Quality Study.'
February 1993 - G20 named as IntelliChoice Inc. 'Best Overall Import Car Value Over $13,000' and 'Best Value in Compact Class Over $16,000.'
April 1993 - 1994 Q45 unveiled at the New York Auto Show; 1993.5 G20 and 1994 Q45 go on sale.
November 1993 - Infiniti is named 'Best Overall Carline' by J.D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI).
January 1994 - Annual sales surpass 50,000 units.
August 1994 - New Infiniti I30 luxury sedan announced.
November 1994 - Infiniti celebrates fifth anniversary and sales surpass 200,000 units sold in first five years.
April 1995 - 1996 I30 goes on sale.
May 1995 - J.D. Power and Associates announces that Infiniti ranked 'Best Overall Carline in Initial Quality' and J30 ranked 'Best Model in the $29,000 and over price class in Initial Quality.'
December 1995 - Kiplinger's Personal Finance announces that I30 ranked 'Best New Car, $25,000 – $35,000.'
February 1996 - Infiniti announces plans to compete as an engine supplier in the Indy Racing League (IRL).
July 1996 - IntelliChoice announces that J30 and I30 offer 'Lowest Maintenance Costs in Class.'
July 1996 - J.D. Power and Associates announces that Infiniti is #1 in 'Customer Satisfaction Index.'
September 1996 - Infiniti Division sales surpass 300,000 units.
November 1996 - 1997 QX4 luxury sport utility vehicle goes on sale and Automotive News names QX4 'One of Ten Cool Engineering Things.'
January 1997 - Ward's Auto World announces that the I30's engine is 'One of the Top Ten Engines;' Infiniti competes in first official IRL race as an engine supplier.
April 1997 - Infiniti I30 ranked 'Best in Class' for the entry luxury vehicle segment, Infiniti QX4 named as 'Best in Class' in the J.D. Power and Associates 1997 Initial Quality Study.
January 1998 - Infiniti closes 1997 calendar year with the highest single-year sales in division history; Ward's Auto World announces that the I30 engine is 'One of the Top Ten Engines' for the fourth time.
April 1998 - 1999 G20 luxury sports sedan is introduced at the 1999 New York Auto Show.
June 1998 - QX4 ties with the Lincoln Navigator for 'Best Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle' in J.D. Power and Associates 1998 Initial Quality Study.
November 1998 - Infiniti announces a national co-promotion of Infiniti's IRL Participation, Motor Trend's 50th Anniversary and CBR Cobb Racing Sponsorship. Kiplinger's Personal Finance votes 1999 I30 'Best In Class, $25,000 - $35,000.'
January 1999 - Ward's Auto World announces that the I30 engine is 'One of the Top Ten Engines' for the fifth time; Infiniti launches the 'Infiniti Owners Club,' an addition to the Total Ownership Experience®.
February 1999 - IntelliChoice votes QX4 'A Best Overall Value - Intermediate Utility,' G20 and G20t 'A Best Overall Value - Compact Sedan Over $15,000.'
March 1999 - Redesigned 2000 I30 debuts at the 1999 New York Auto Show.
May 1999 - I30 ranked as 'Best Entry Luxury Car' in J.D. Power and Associates 1999 Initial Quality Study.
September 1999 - 2000 I30 goes on sale.
November 1999 - Infiniti celebrates 10th Anniversary.
December 1999 - Infiniti Division sales surpass a half million units.
January 2000 - 2001 QX4 and Infiniti XVL Concept debut at North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
February 2000 - IntelliChoice votes QX4 'A Best Overall Value – Intermediate Utility' for second year in a row.
April 2000 - Third generation Q45 debuts at New York Auto Show.
September 2000 - The 227-horsepower V6 I30 goes on sale as a 2001 model. The new model features the industry exclusive Birdview Navigation System.
January 2001 - FX45 Concept debuts at North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
March 2001 - All-new third generation Q45 goes on sale as a 2002 model.
April 2001 - 2002 I35 debuts at New York Auto Show.
September 2001 - 2002 I35 goes on sale.
January 2002 - G35 Sport Sedan and second generation FX45 Concept debut at North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
March 2002 - Infiniti launches the all-new 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 G35 Sport Sedan.
October 2002 - All-new M45 performance sport sedan, featuring a 340-horesepower 4.5-liter V8, a goes on sale.
November 2002 - G35 Sport Coupe model is launched. Both the G35 Sport Coupe and Sport Sedan receive the prestigious 2003 Motor Trend Car of the Year award.
December 2002 - Kiplinger's Personal Finance named G35 Sport Sedan 'Best in Class' and 'Best New Car' ($23,000-$30,000). Also named M45 'Best New Car' ($40,000 and under).
December 2002 - Infiniti reports best month and overall year in division's history. Total sales for 2002 totaled more than 87,000 units.
December 2002 - Infiniti Division cumulative sales surpass 750,000 units.
January 2003 - Production model Infiniti FX45 premium crossover SUV debuts at North American International Auto Show in Detroit and goes on sale later in the month. Triant concept vehicle also debuts at NAIAS.
January 2003 - G35 Sport Sedan and Sport Coupe are named to the Car and Driver's 'Ten Best Cars' list.
February 2003 - Automobile Magazine's Readers' All-Stars voted the G35 Sport Sedan, 'Best Luxury Car under $40,000' and the G35 Sport Coupe was named 'Best Coupe', as well as a '2003 All-star.'
February 2003 - Money Magazine named the G35 Sport Sedan 'Best Sport Sedan.'
March 2003 - G35 Sedan was awarded the AAA Auto Guide award in the $25,000 – $30,000 category.
June 2003 - Strategic Vision, Inc. announces that the G35 won their '2003 Total Quality Awards™' in the near luxury car category.
July 2003 - Infiniti ranked highest in JD Power and Associates 2003 Customer Service Index™ (CSI) study for the third time.
August 2003 - Infiniti sets individual monthly sales record of 12,988 units sold.
November 2003 - G35 Sedan AWD model, badged G35x, goes on sale. Infiniti CY sales top 100,000 units for the first time in history.
January 2004 - All-new, QX56 full-size luxury SUV debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, also on stage is the G35x. Infiniti CYo3 sales reach 118,655 units sold.
February 2004 - 2004 QX56 goes on sale.
March 2004 - Infiniti announces Lane Departure Warning System technology for 2005 FX.
April 2004 - M45 Concept debuts at New York International Auto Show. Infiniti global expansion announced.
May 2004 - Infiniti launch plans for South Korean market unveiled.
July 2004 - G35 Coupe named AutoWeek Magazine's 'Best Sports Coupe' for 2004.
August 2004 - G35 Coupe, QX56, and FX crossover named to Auto World Magazine's '50 Best Picks' for 2004.Source: Infiniti