The Infiniti Q30 Concept, the next step in Infiniti’s strategy to expand into new premium segments, made its initial debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show back in early September.
Predictive of a new compact that will launch in early 2015, the Q30 Concept shares certain familial design cues with the new 2014 Infiniti Q50. Its design language and sculpting also borrows from recent Infiniti concept cars, namely, the Essence, Etherea and Emerg-e vehicles.
As Infiniti’s Executive Design Director, Alfonso Albaisa is currently spearheading the marque’s new design language. He terms the Q30 Concept the beginning of big things to come for Infiniti.
“With this new expression of design we’re seeing now at Infiniti, it’s a good time for us as designers. Everyone from Johan de Nysschen [Infiniti President] down is totally behind us as we craft this new language that started with the concept cars of Essence, Etherea and Emerg-e and we’re now bringing to the consumers through Q50 and the Q30 Concept.
“I think when you see animals like cheetahs and wildcats that tend to have a lot of speed, they have a slenderness and also a lightweight almost floating feeling when they walk. That for me is one of the keys to this concept with its seductive, sculptural body.”
Albaisa says his goal is to make Infiniti’s design language more emotive, sensual and contemporary.
“Infiniti moving forward will definitely focus on the romance of the automobile. For me it’s about the artisan. The man who when he’s hammering the metal knows how to loft that shape – even with an English wheel. I love that.”
The Q30 Concept is a “design mash-up”, blending three different types of body style – the coupe, the hatch and the crossover. The concept’s vision is to be the alternative to the practicality and conformity often seen in the compact car segment.
“The Q30 Concept doesn’t feel heavy. It’s more horizontal, floating and sculptural,” said Albaisa. “It has a strong Italian design flavoor with spontaneity and fluidity, a free-sculpture feeling full of Latin playfulness and nuance. Imagine combining Italian coachwork with Japanese brushstroke.”
Research among the new generation of buyers – with Gen X and Gen Y soon to represent 80 per cent of the market – shows an increasing rejection of traditional notions toward premium cars.
“Younger customers are coming into the premium segment with their own attitude toward premium-ness,” says Hugues Fabre, Director, Infiniti Marketing. “They are looking for intense, authentic experiences, and they are willing to bend the traditional codes of luxury and disrupt convention to create better and more customised experiences.”
Speaking at the Q30’s North American premiere last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Michael Bartsch, vice-president of Infiniti’s American division, echoed Fabre’s thinking. “The Q30 Concept has a compact footprint geared to the global trend of younger customers entering the premium sector in search of a product that suits their urban lifestyle,” he explained. “These buyers are less willing to connect size, presence and high-output power as key ingredients of the premium product. Rather, they’re looking more for balance, great design and outstanding execution.”