As a relative minnow in the world of luxury cars, Infiniti needs to embody a point of difference. And the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Nissan appears to have a design-led development approach that provides precisely that.
Speaking at the launch of the new 2017 Infiniti Q60 twin-turbo coupe in the US this past week with the company’s global senior manager of product strategy, Gerardo Carmona, we learned that it’s the company’s design team that holds sway over engineering, not vice-versa.
This means that the company’s engineers are tasked with making its designers’ bold choices a production reality, rather than the designers working within engineer-led parameters (shapes, hardpoints, etc) as is common in the automotive business.
As a result, the company can theoretically give its cars more radical design elements, less encumbered by engineers or number crunchers holding the best cards.
The result is a future series of cars with “handcrafted” lines. We can expect to see the next generation of its vehicles, such as the next QX50 SUV and others, mirror the Q60 coupe’s boldness.
“Absolutely, we changed that recently, Carmona said. “The overall new Infiniti DNA needs to be already printed into each vehicle, and the Q60 is the first with this new philosophy.
“The actual depth of the [Q60’s] sheetmetal is way too deep compared to what we were doing before, and now engineering has the principal to follow design instead of the opposite.
“So now design comes with a very crazy and advanced and sleek design, and engineering has to come out with the solution in material, tensile and sheetmetal to actually achieve it.
“For example, the Q60 trunk is made of high-polymer resin because the curvature of the trunk is impossible with sheetmetal, but design said ‘no way [to the idea of changing it]’ so engineering had to make it happen.”
Infiniti Motor Company Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with sales operations in over 50 countries, but its design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi near Yokohama, plus London, San Diego and Beijing.