Infiniti Q30 Concept
Infiniti Q30 Concept
Infiniti Q30 Concept. Click image to enlarge

Preview and photos by Michael Bettencourt

The Q30 Concept that Infiniti unveiled at Frankfurt this year is not only a long-legged hatchback, it is the future global entry-level model for Nissan’s haute couture division designed and built out of Nissan’s corporate partnership with Daimler AG. Infiniti says the car is scheduled to enter production in 2015, to be built in Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, England, using the MFA architecture that underpins the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class, among others.

Infiniti says the Q30 will combine the appealing aspects of three different body styles: hatchback, crossover and coupe. The hatchback elements are fairly obvious, but with the taller body to give it a somewhat taller view down the road. The only ‘coupe’ element to this pre-production concept seems to be the rear door handles hidden near the squiggly rear window lines. Plus Infiniti’s new naming structure that’s coming this fall gives this away as a car (Q prefix) and not a crossover or SUV (QX).

Infiniti hasn’t released any information about what engine or drivetrain variants may be available in a production Q30, but don’t be surprised to see either the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder from the latest generation of small Benz models, since the companies have confirmed that Mercedes-Benz will supply fours and transmissions for use in Infiniti vehicles.

At a joint Daimler-Nissan/Renault press conference over the media days of the Frankfurt auto show, featuring respective CEOs Dieter Zetsche and Carlos Ghosn, both industry heavy hitters discussed how the companies are very happy with the results of the partnership in its infancy – more visible in Europe so far, as the first jointly developed vehicle to come to market was the Citan commercial van, built in Renault’s plant in Maubeuge, France, and with diesel engines that have launched in Benz’s A- and B-Classes on the continent.

Wait, but won’t the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and jointly developed Infiniti Q30 compete for sales in the marketplace? Perhaps, though the companies are fine with that, to a limited extent.

“Our customers don’t often see Nissan vehicles as competition,” said Zetsche, who runs the 125-year-old company credited with producing the first modern automobile.

Infiniti Q30 ConceptInfiniti Q30 ConceptInfiniti Q30 ConceptInfiniti Q30 Concept
Infiniti Q30 Concept. Click image to enlarge

“Frankly there are some overlaps, such as between Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz,” offered up Carlos Ghosn bravely. “But the cross shopping between the two brands is very limited.”

Interestingly, though this Q30 is meant as an entry-level Infiniti model, the company also announced recently that it will continue to offer the G37 sedan in the U.S. alongside the newly released Q50, but at a lower price than the Q50 as a more affordable gateway to the brand. Both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive G37 four-doors will continue to be offered, at prices about US$5,000 less than ’13 MSRPs.

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Manufacturer’s Website:
Infiniti Canada

Photo Gallery:
Infiniti Q30 Concept

A Nissan Canada official said early this week it hasn’t yet decided whether Infiniti will follow the same path in Canada, though didn’t specify whether its plans may differ on still offering the G37 sedan, or the amount of the price cut. Interestingly, the entire G37 line of sedans has been removed from the Canadian Infiniti website, suggesting that the company is leaning towards going its own way, and ending the G37 sedan line altogether.

At the Daimler-Nissan conference, when someone asked if all this cooperation between the companies could lead to a marriage, Carlos Ghosn had the line of the day. “I don’t know if it’s a marriage or a fiancée or a casual encounter,” said Ghosn. “But we have projects, and then we get together, not the other way around.”

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