Philipp Heldt
Managing Director
Infiniti Mexico
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View from the Top

Infiniti, Making CASE Vehicles a Reality

By Alejandro Enríquez | Wed, 09/02/2020 - 09:43

Q: How has INFINITI changed the premium vehicle market?

A: INFINITI is really a unique case. We are different in our segment given our age. We have been in the market for just 30 years, which is a very short time compared to the long history of some other brands in the same segment. In this short time, we have achieved important milestones. We have had iconic vehicles such as Q45, INFINITI’s first sedan, and some technological breakthroughs we call INFINITI-firsts. In Mexico, we are a Tier 1 brand in the luxury segment.

The customer plays a central role in INFINITI’s vision. In the premium segment, we often see that product and technology are above everything, which could neglect the role the customer can play. From the beginning, however, we have put the client at the center of our strategy, on the same level as product and technology. For instance, INFINITI Mexico has one of the most competitive road assistance services, called INFINITI Black. A signature feature of this program is its pick-up and delivery service. If a vehicle needs servicing, we pick up the car and bring it back to the customer afterward, no matter if it is the first or 10th time the car is in the shop. This comes at no additional cost and has national coverage. This is one way we go a step further to improve the user experience.

We are now at the dawn of a new breakthrough, which is electrification. We have already announced that in a two-year period we will start to see an offensive strategy of plug-in EVs, as well as another electric technology called e-power. E-power is a 100 percent electric-powered vehicle with a battery that is charged through a little combustion engine. This means that you will have an EV without the need to connect it. In Mexico, this is particularly important given that charging infrastructure, although improved over the last years, remains insufficient. E-power will provide an option to consumers interested in EVs but who are still weary of the technology.

We are expanding our offering in sustainable mobility after being pioneers in our segment when we introduced our Q50 hybrid and QX60 hybrid models. Both have been best-sellers in the Mexico City area due to the high-performance they offer by combining both combustion and electric power to deliver 360hp. We have also shared a glimpse into the future of the brand with the QX Inspiration and Q Inspiration concepts, which show the new design interpretation that is coming for the brand.

Q: What autonomous features can users enjoy in INFINITI vehicles?

A: Technology development in INFINITI is about betting on bold designs guided by the human element. We were pioneers in premium hybrid vehicles but also in safety features such as ProAssist, assisted electronic drivetrain. That is our legacy as a brand after 30 years.

We have already brought that technology to Mexico. The Q50 in Mexico has a ProAssist system, including a set of sensors, radars and cameras that enable semi-autonomous driving in the vehicle. We also have an electronic drivetrain that does not have a column between the steering wheel and the wheels. The latter move according to sensors in the steering wheel. This is the must-have technology for autonomous driving. As part of Nissan, we have all the technology needed for semi-autonomous driving.

Q: What role do INFINITI’s Engineering Academy and INFINITI Lab play in technology development?

A: These are key elements within INFINITI’s platform. We have a legacy in F1 as sponsors and when Renault chose to comeback with a team, it was the perfect time for us to go beyond sponsorship to become technical partners of Renault’s team. The hybrid technology in Renault’s F1 car comes from INFINITI. We are very proud about that.

INFINITI’s Engineering Academy is basically a quest to find the best engineering talent. Under this program, we do a road tour of more than 30 or 40 universities across the country to introduce the brand and the program. Seven regions worldwide participate in the program and the best person in each region goes to London for a year to work directly at INFINITI’s engineering centers and with Renault Sport’s F1 team. This is a program no other brand offers. Mexico has participated for more than four years as the region with the most applicants participating. In fact, a Mexican student was selected for the program and designed the body of one of our vehicles, which is still being used today.

 

INFINITI is Nissan’s luxury brand. It is present in 50 countries, including Mexico. The brand produces an SUV model in Aguascalientes and will celebrate its 10th anniversary in the country in 2021
 

Photo by:   Infiniti
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst