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Infiniti Marks 25th Anniversary Of Official Brand Announcement At 1989 North American International Auto Show


DETROIT--Jan. 14, 2014: For many buyers of the stunning all-new 2014 Infiniti Q50, there has always been the Infiniti brand. Owners just getting their driver's licenses at age 16 in 1989, for example, would now be entering their 40's. Yet in January of that year, Infiniti was just pulling the covers off its very first vehicle, the groundbreaking Infiniti Q45 performance luxury sedan, at the 1989 North American International Auto Show.

The press conference held at the show created a tremendous stir. Not only was a Japanese manufacturer bold enough to hold its announcement in the heart of the American domestic car industry, it was signaling its intent to challenge the traditional European luxury brands with a flagship sedan capable of going head-to-head in terms of performance and engineering. Even more notable, Infiniti executives announced that the Q45 would do it on its own terms.

"The Infiniti Q45 presented the development team with a difficult challenge: how to create a truly original Japanese luxury car, an automobile with an international identity and presence," explained Takashi Oki, principal product design of the Q45, at the time.

"Amidst great luxury, simplicity" In fact, what caused the most interest in the pre-production Infiniti Q45 that sat under the lights was what was missing – no traditional oversized front grille, no forest of exotic wood trim in the interior. The Q45, and Infiniti itself, promised something new. Luxury redefined.

The expansive vision, announced in Detroit, was to embrace a new luxury ethic that included not just luxury vehicles, but an entirely new purchase and ownership experience – no hidden backroom negotiations, no high pressure sales, and a pioneering decision to offer free loaner cars during routine service. Today those practices are standard across luxury and non-luxury brands alike. But in January 1989, they were met with surprise and skepticism.

The company's name itself, and the brand's distinctive logo, backed up the "luxury refined" vision. The fresh spelling, with four "i"s, and the badge with its two central lines leading off into an infinite point on the horizon, symbolized this new luxury performance brand's desire to be always looking forward – to new horizons (the pre-launch task force for the brand was called "horizon"), to infinity.

Just 10 months after the initial press announcement, on November 8, 1989, the doors opened on the first 51 Infiniti retailers in the U.S. – with the Infiniti Q45 as the centerpiece in the showrooms. In honor of that original Q, for the 2014 model year Infiniti adapted a new vehicle nomenclature using "Q" for all sedans, coupes and convertibles and "QX" for crossovers and SUVs.

And in 2014, 25 years after its initial appearance, Infiniti is back in the spotlight at the North American International Auto Show with another advanced premium sports sedan, a Formula One-inspired concept car called the "Q50 Eau Rouge." The concept car represents Infiniti's design vision of a high performance variant of the new Q50. It is named after the world-famous corner at the Formula One track in Spa-Francorchamps, a corner which requires extraordinary strength, courage and commitment, and that has seen some of the most incredible driving feats in Formula One history.

For Infiniti, the Q50 Eau Rouge concept blends road car technology and a thoroughbred motorsport vision – with aerodynamic styling treatments and design elements influenced by Infiniti's partnership with Formula One world championship-winning team Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

Speaking of both Infiniti's past and future, Vice President, Infiniti Americas Michael Bartsch said: "Performance is a key pillar of Infiniti's DNA, and the Q50 Eau Rouge expresses a deepened design interpretation of that. We can't wait to see what the next 25 years bring."

Read more about Infiniti's history at: Infiniti History