The Japanese giants created luxury brands like Lexus, Acura and Infiniti in the late 1980s to move upmarket, allowing them to sell cars at a price and segment that a mass market Toyota, Honda or Nissan badge wouldn’t have been able to command. They were never meant for the Japanese domestic market, where a Nissan badge can be on everything from kei-cars to limos.

Toyota was the first to bring its luxury brand ‘back home’ by introducing Lexus in Japan in 2005. Now, Nissan is doing the same with the introduction of Infiniti in the Land of the Rising Sun, 24 years after the brand was launched in the USA.

The launch model will be the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, to be called ‘Skyline’ in Japan, an unfamiliar marque balanced by a famous nameplate. To go on sale in February 2014, Nissan is targeting initial monthly sales of 200 units. The car will be priced from from 4.5 million yen (RM145,112).


The Q50 made its debut at the Detroit show earlier this year, before a European premiere in Geneva added a Mercedes-sourced diesel engine to the mix. The hybrid is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 with 302 hp and 350 Nm, combined with an electric motor that does 67 hp/270 Nm. Combined output is 360 hp. It’s a fast car, with 0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds and a 250 km/h top speed.

This move is part of Infiniti’s plan to significantly boost volumes – the brand sold 173,000 cars in 2012, but is looking to shift half a million vehicles a year by 2017. Will Japan help much? Last year’s domestic sales for Lexus fell 3% to 42,300 vehicles, accounting for less than 10% of total global sales for Toyota’s luxury brand.

Like what you see? It was announced back in May that the Infiniti Q50 will be coming to Malaysia, and you can view the 3-Series-fighter at this weeks’s KLIMS13 show, where Infiniti will have a booth for the first time.