First shown at Geneva in early 2015, the Infiniti QX30 Concept made its way to the 2015 New York International Auto Show where Infiniti Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa confirmed that what you see is pretty much what you’re going to get on the showroom floor next year.
“Not the split-back, see-through seats, necessarily, or the roof racks in this form, but otherwise we’re very close.”
At a private session with Mr. Albaisa, the initial questions had more to do with the QX30’s eye-catching appearance than anything else (and we’ll get to that), but discussions did eventually turn to the QX30’s Mercedes-Benz (Daimler) foundations. This is a first for Infiniti, of course, to build a new vehicle on a Daimler platform, this one found under the recently introduced GLA crossover and CLA sport sedan (the upcoming Q30 is expected to be an Infiniti hatchback version of the CLA).
I must say, I was rather intrigued by this development. What’s in it for Infiniti? For Mercedes-Benz? At a later session with Nissan/Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn these questions were asked and Mr. Ghosn suggested that the future of the automotive sector will be one of collaboration. “Not necessarily mergers…,” he said, “…although it could be, but also sharing and jointly developing technologies if it makes sense to do so.”
Obviously this particular collaboration must make sense, and from the Infiniti perspective one can surmise that the company needs a vehicle in this popular segment and they need it quickly. Developing an entire new platform from scratch takes time and resources, so using the GLA platform (and drivetrain, by the way) and fitting it with a completely new body and interior, along with modifying the chassis more in keeping with desired Infiniti driving dynamics, gets Infiniti “on the road” in double quick time.
Why is this of interest to Daimler? They get more volume for this platform which makes it more cost-effective to develop, and presumably more profitable. Neither company is advertising the collaboration, but they’re not hiding anything, either. You just have to ask.