Speaking to CarAdvice at this week’s local launch of the Q30-based QX30 crossover, Infiniti Cars Australia managing director Jean-Philippe Roux said safety is most definitely of high importance to the premium Japanese marque.
Acknowledging that the $48,900 (before on-road costs) asking price for the base Infiniti QX30 GT (pictured above) is still a significant amount of money for any small family to part ways with, Roux said reserving certain safety technology for dearer, upper-spec models is commonplace across rival car makers.
“Yes, we might be missing some safety features, but on a base grade of any premium brand this is quite a common thing to do. So I don’t see it as a major issue," he said.
“I think, there’s no contradiction in there. What we’re saying is, on one side, you can sell safety – driver assistance technology – as extremely important to the brand, and this is what we’re saying.
“Now, from a customer perspective, you have to respect their choices. Some of them might not be interested in all the safety features, they just want to get a car at that price.
“So, someone might say, ‘I want a premium car at a certain price and this list of features is enough, I don’t need all the gear’. So, it’s very much back to the customer as to what is expected. You have to be in a position to offer a range of cars for different budgets and different customer needs.
“If safety is extremely important to the customers, yes, we are offering safety within our price of the vehicles – and not as an option like other brands do – but some of them [customers] don’t want it. Some customers just want an entry price on a nice looking, premium vehicle.”
Speaking at the QX30’s launch event, Infiniti Cars Australia corporate communications general manager Peter Fadeyev recognised the base model’s lack of a rear-view camera was a significant omission for a car competing in the family-focussed, small SUV segment.
“It’s something we’re looking to change in the future,” Fadeyev told assembled media.
Although not providing any specific timeline of when this change could or would occur, Fadeyev said, “We do enhance cars from year to year, and during their mid-life cycle as well, but expect to see changes in the future.”
Confirming to media that there was no technical reason why a rear-view camera wasn’t included in the QX30 GT, Fadeyev said, “It simply wasn’t specified.”
“Simple as that. And we’re looking to correct that in the future.
“We didn’t specify it at the time – in the long-lead planning for the car, we didn’t specify – but we’re looking to change that.”
When asked why Infiniti Cars Australia chose not to specify the technology during the model’s extended planning phase, Fadeyev said much of any vehicle’s planning is done years out from its market launch.
“It’s something that we know is a competitive feature. There are a lot of pieces of equipment in Q30 and QX30 that far outstrip our European rivals but you can’t, in our opinion, distil it down to one feature. I think that would be very unfair, and an unfair hearing of the car.
“But we acknowledge that it’s something we should add, and are looking to add it in the future.”
Although the sub-$50k QX30 GT misses out on the rear-view camera found standard on the entry-level Audi Q3 ($42,900) and entry-level Mercedes-Benz GLA ($43,600), the model still comes standard with a forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), tyre pressure monitoring, electronic stability control (ESC), and seven airbags (driver, front passenger, seat-mounted side impact airbags, curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag).
Home to both rear- and around-view cameras, the $56,900 (before on-road costs) flagship QX30 GT Premium additionally comes standard with adaptive cruise control, intelligent brake assist control, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, park assist, rear moving object detection, and traffic sign recognition.
It's worth noting, too, that the base Q30 GT ($38,900) also launched without a rear-view camera on board, with the technology reserved for the top-spec Sport Premium petrol ($52,900) and Sport Premium diesel ($54,900) models.
Have your say. Should rear-view cameras be made mandatory on all passenger cars from 2017 onwards?