In today's world, Infiniti is having a horrible time. Their cars have constantly been getting panned by journalists and critics, and sales plunged by 43.9% in September of 2019, a stark contrast to how the brand was like in the early to mid-2000s. How did Infiniti go from a desirable luxury brand to becoming a laughing stock in the automotive industry? This blog post explores how and why Infiniti's terrible global marketing strategy cost them dearly.
Company Overview and History
Infiniti, a luxury division of its parent company Nissan, was founded in 1989, and its main focus: to provide a cheaper luxury alternative to premium brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Cadillac. Their first cars launched in the U.S. market were the Q45 and M30, which were basically rebadged Nissan counterparts aimed at the premium segments that would not have had otherwise fit in with Nissan's mainstream image. For the next 20 years, Infiniti kept expanding as they introduced more vehicles such as the QX4 SUV. Since then, the brand was on its way to becoming one of the most desirable luxury brands due to its unparalleled build quality and reliability… until the brand started to drop the ball in the mid-2010s.
The Rise & Fall of Infiniti in the U.S. Market
In the early to mid-2000s, Infiniti was on the top of their game in the U.S. market. One of their flagship cars, the G35, which were both sold in sedan and coupe versions, beat out the competition, especially the BMW 3 series, which was considered the gold standard for premium sedan segments back then. Other cars in their model lineup were praised for their distinctive designs, build quality, excellent reliability, and having more bang for the buck than the competition.
A decade later, the company has found itself in hot water. Their sales plummeted due to them not innovating, terrible marketing strategy, and poor leadership, but this post will only focus on the global marketing strategy. Over the past few years, Infiniti has released a couple of commercials that either doesn't make sense and had no brand appeal at all, and this is one of them.
According to some journalists and critics, the background music was cringe-inducing, as well as depicting the things that ordinary people shouldn't do, such as driving the QX80 after making a splash in the pool (they never dried their clothes after all, so that would leave the interior to rot and smell thanks to the chlorine in the pool), and driving on the dunes, something people rarely do in a luxury crossover. Furthermore, Infiniti does not show any cool features at all, which in our opinion, the company just wasted tons of money doing a useless commercial.
Infiniti's global marketing strategy backfired that they decided to rename all their cars via their new nomenclatures.
Their new naming strategy was heavily panned by critics and journalists alike, saying that condensing all the various prefixes to “Q” and “QX” makes it rather confusing and tarnishes the legacy of the brand, especially the G35. People do not simply associate the Q60 with the G coupe simply because they think it's a different car and that the new nomenclature diluted the legacy of what the “G” series left behind.
Why Infiniti has Recently Pulled out of the European Market
In 2008, Nissan's premium brand Infiniti was launched. Still, even after launching a pair of new models specifically designed for the continent, it failed to gain a foothold in the European premium car market. One of the critical components of the DNA of a premium brand is its history. Premium quality is built on a brand's history, often a glorious prestige past. For the American market, Infiniti was born in the 1980s, and European consumers only heard of it at its launch in 2008. What's an Infiniti that does not have a Mercedes? Why should a consumer opt instead of an Audi to buy an Infiniti? These are difficult questions that we are sure that salespeople from Infiniti have to deal with daily. Volvo is known for its safety; Lexus is recognized as the premium brand for hybrid cars; Land Rover is the premium brand for SUVs. But what about Infiniti, though? “A clear “Nothing” response. The company opted to incorporate a crossover look to the Q30 instead of creating a reliable, lightweight SUV. The Q50 got old then, and its replacement came too late. The Q70 had a peculiar style and was very thin relative to its competitors. The SUVs of Infiniti were not sufficiently sustainable and not conceived for the European user. Premium vehicle buyers appear to be more loyal, unlike in the mass markets. If they feel happy with their vehicle, they're likely to keep purchasing the brand. For emerging brands seeking to capture a slice of the industry, this complicates matters, and Infiniti is no different.