Future Product

The new plan is to reboot Infiniti as 'Nissan-plus', rapid model rollout coming

Infiniti already has plans for a number of new vehicles in the works.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

It's no secret that Infiniti has been struggling with its brand identity. It shows right there on the balance sheet where sales are down significantly, suffering a fate similar to its parent company Nissan. But, there's a plan underway to change that.

Reporting from AutomotiveNews indicates that the brand will no longer be looking to go in the direction of other luxury manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Instead, they'll be considered "Nissan-plus" according to a representative from the company.

2020 Infiniti QX50 The Infiniti QX50 is a premium compact SUV that is designed for comfortable cruising. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The move is part of a larger four-year turnaround plan made public by Nissan last week that advertised the introduction of 12 new models in the last 18 months. Infiniti vehicles were not explicitly part of that news release but we already know that the company plans to unveil the new QX55 and redesigned QX60 in the coming months.

AutomotiveMap has seen the 2020 Infiniti QX55 in person at a private media event and the 2021 Infiniti QX60 in picture form at the same event. The company also teased forthcoming electrification plans.

Infiniti COO Ashwani Gupta outlines what the plans for Infiniti are beyond then explaining that Infiniti and its parent company Nissan would begin sharing platforms in a move to slash costs. This is not unusual in the auto industry. In fact, Volkswagen Group has based its electrification strategy on flexible platforms that can be utilized by its Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche brands, among others.

In addition to the platform sharing, Infiniti will share powertrains and assembly with its mass market counterpart. Today, Infiniti vehicles are made at six plants: two in Japan, two in China, one in Mexico, and one in Smyrna, Tennessee. The forthcoming QX60 is made beside the Nissan Pathfinder in the U.S. so we should see both redesigns at the same time (likely at the L.A. Auto Show later this year).

2020 Infiniti QX80 Infiniti recently updated the interior design of its QX80. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Those new models will begin to rapidly roll out in 2023.

The U.S. and China will be the company's primary market focus as the company reshapes its brand. In the early part of the century, Infiniti was known for creating fresh versions of Nissan vehicles that were upmarket. The company abandoned this strategy in an effort to give the Infiniti brand its own unique line of models. With global sales in decline, the company appears to be reverting to old strategy to shore up its finances and future.

Infiniti isn't the only brand attempting to return to the successes of the late 90s and early 2000s. Acura has begun rolling out a bold strategy featuring performance-focused models, including the 2021 Acura TLX and TLX Type S.

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The Volvo C40 Recharge is a couple-like version of the XC40.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Earlier this week, Volvo announced that it is going all-in on electric vehicles by 2030. Now it's showing off its latest model, a take on the XC40 Recharge - the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge.

Taking a note from the Audi playbook, the C40 Recharge is a sloped roof version of the XC40 Recharge. It has sleeker design than its predecessor even though they both ride on the same platform. The face of the model shows off a new design path for Volvo and has headlights with state-of-the-art pixel technology, something also on the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Volvo has given the car an electric powertrain that consists of two electric motors, one on the front axle and one at the back, which are powered by a 78-kilowatt-hour battery that can be charged to 80 percent in 40 minutes. It has an expected range of 260 miles.

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

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The C40 Recharge offers a high seating position and is available in a large range of color ways. It is the first Volvo model to be completely leather-free. Volvo has given the model its infotainment system, which runs on Android technology. Apps such as Google Maps, Google Assistant, and the Google Play Store are built in. The tech allows for over-the-air updates.

Volvo will only sell the C40 Recharge online and it will come with a care package.

"The C40 Recharge represents the future of Volvo and shows where we are going," said Henrik Green, chief technology officer. "It is fully electric, offered online only with a convenient care package and will be available for quick delivery. Getting a new Volvo was never this attractive."

The XC40 was Volvo's first all-electric car. Volvo promises additional electric models are on their way in the coming years. The automaker predicts that by 2025, 50 percent of its global sales volume will consist of fully electric cars. The rest will be hybrids. To achieve this, Volvo is expected to lean heavily on the Asian and European markets where EVs are more popular with buyers due to government regulation.

The C40 Recharge will go in production this fall and will be built alongside the XC40 Recharge at the Volvo Cars manufacturing plant in Ghent, Belgium.

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Volvo is transitioning to an all-electric lineup.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars

Volvo Cars is the latest company to take their commitment to electric powertrains to a new level. Unlike other automakers, like Land Rover who is promising an electric option for its model lineup, Volvo is planning to make their whole lineup electric by 2030.

This means that there will only be all-electric cars and SUVs in its global portfolio and all internal combustion engine and hybrid models will be phased out. By 2025, it aims for 50 percent of its global sales to consist of fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids. By 2040, the company hopes to be carbon neutral. Nissan has similar goals.

Volvo XC40 The Volvo XC40 is currently offered as an all-electric model.Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars

Volvo XC40

Additionally, the brand is rolling out a new commercial strategy that will have them invest heavily in online sales channels in a move to reduce the complexity of its product offerings and set pricing on models, eliminating bargaining at the point of sale, something that the Saturn brand was known for. Via VolvoCars.com buyers will be able to choose from pre-configured electric Volvos that are ready for ordering and quick delivery.

"The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online and growth," says Lex Kerssemakers, Head of Global Commercial Operations at Volvo Cars. "We want to offer our customers peace of mind and a care-free way of having a Volvo, by taking away complexity while getting and driving the car. Simplification and convenience are key to everything we do."

Customer offerings will all be housed under one brand, Care by Volvo, which was, until now, the name of the company's subscription service platform.

Dealerships and sales associates still factor into the company's plans. That's good, because many states require new car sales to occur only though an authorized dealership, a point of contention for emerging brands due to the expense and logistic annoyance of establishing a dealer network. Dealerships will be tasked with "a variety of important services such as selling, preparing, delivering and servicing cars" according to a release.

Volvo online ordering and financing process

Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars

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"Online and off-line need to be fully and seamlessly integrated," added Lex Kerssemakers. "Wherever the customer is in their journey – online, in a showroom, in a Volvo Studio, or driving the car – the customer experience needs to be top-notch."

The purchase of an electric Volvo will include a package of traditional extras including service, warranty, roadside assistance, insurance (where available), and home charging options. Sans the insurance, many electric vehicle manufacturers offer these extras already.

"There is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine," said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. "We are firmly committed to becoming an electric-only car maker and the transition should happen by 2030. It will allow us to meet the expectations of our customers and be a part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change."

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