LOS ANGELES – The Infiniti Q30 Concept, the next step in Infiniti’s strategy to expand into new premium segments, made its North American debut today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be on display at the Infiniti booth at the show, which runs from November 22 through December 1, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The sleek, seductive Q30 Concept is the design vision for a compact Infiniti vehicle with a contemporary, individualized character for a new generation of premium customers. The compact premium segment is forecast for significant growth with the entry of young-minded affluent customers.

“The Infiniti Q30 Concept is highly predictive of a new head-turning premium compact that we will launch in early 2015,” said Michael Bartsch, vice-president, Infiniti Americas. “It is the perfect addition to our current portfolio of advanced sports sedans and coupes, luxury performance crossovers and full-size SUVs.”

“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,” added Bartsch. “The concept’s vision is to be the alternative to the practicality and conformity in the compact car segment.”

The Q30 Concept shares key Infiniti design cues with the new 2014 Infiniti Q50, while charting even more adventurous design language and sculpting. It also incorporates dramatic design cues from visionary Infiniti concept vehicles – Essence, Etherea and Emerg-e.

The shape of the Infiniti Q30 Concept deliberately challenges convention – fusing the dynamic design and sportiness of a coupe, the roominess of a hatchback and the higher stance and visual presence of a crossover. Infiniti designers were given the freedom to explore seductive alternatives to traditional premium automobile brands.

The result is a very modern design with a sleek silhouette, dynamic character and artistically sculpted, individualistic interior design. It features a dramatic exterior shape, particularly the body sides, which include bold sections, deep undercuts and intersecting lines.

“Research among the new generation of buyers – with Gen X and Gen Y soon to represent 80 percent of the market – shows an increasing rejection of traditional notions toward premium cars,” said Bartsch. “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.”

The bespoke feel of the Q30 Concept’s interior design envisions Infiniti’s ambition of interior design and quality leading the premium segment. With its warm, inviting and emotionally engaging experience, the Q30 Concept eschews the more clinical approach found in other premium brands.

The designers achieved this through pursuing highly sculptural shapes, featuring a unique execution of Infiniti’s “dual wave” effect and pursuing the notion of dissymmetry. Dissymmetry, an unconventional approach, orients design features – from air vents and armrests to the instrument clusters – for more sculpted visual appeal.

The overall effect is enhanced by the harmonious contrast of materials in the cabin. The initial impression is a black-and-white theme, but closer examination reveals a richer feel characterized by cream leathers and a slight bronze effect adding warmth to blacks, creating sumptuous warmth.

Just as younger premium customers have embraced furniture design, fashion and clothing, Q30 Concept’s interior conveys an understated expression of personality for its target customer. The careful choices of colors, materials, contrasts and accents express thoughtful coordination.

Reflecting the value these buyers place on connectivity, the Q30 Concept also offers a level of technologies and features, such as Infiniti InTouch, not typically found in compact cars.

“Younger and younger-minded premium customers inspired the Q30 Concept design team. They feel their lives are no longer aligned to one straight line in terms of career or lifestyle,” said Bartsch. “Today is more about fluidity than rigidity, and that offers the freedom not to follow the norms important to a previous generation. The Infiniti Q30 Concept’s vision is to be the ideal car for them.”


LOS ANGELES – Michael Bartsch joined Infiniti seven weeks ago as the head of the Americas region. This week he made his first auto show appearance and shared some insight into his first months on the job, where the brand is going, and growing, in the future.

Q1: What are you excited about in terms of future product from Infiniti?

Michael Bartsch, Vice President, Infiniti Americas: What is really exciting about this brand is that the door has been opened and I’ve looked in. And, when you see what is being planned in the small hatch segment, the small SUV segment, the large passenger vehicle segment, even what is being planned on the really high aspirational level, you can’t help but get excited. What I can say is that this Q30 is very much a lighthouse. It points in the direction of where the Infiniti brand is going to move in the next few years.

Q2: Where are the opportunities for Infiniti?

Bartsch: Fifty percent of the industry profits come from 12 percent of the market. And that 12 percent of the market is the premium segment. The reality of it is that the Infiniti brand has always just been another product within the Nissan organization. Now it is independent; it stands on its own two feet. Our orbit now is Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus and everything we do we have to look critically in the context of those brands. And we have to ask ourselves: Are we operating at the level of the mindset that those customers expect? If we are not, then we are not going to compete. And if we are not, we have to ask ourselves why, and how do we improve and how do we get there. That is going to be the real challenge.

Q3: What do you mean by young-minded customers? Is that an age qualification?

Bartsch: Young minded is a mindset; it has nothing to do with age. It’s about connectivity. It’s about the lifestyle that we’ve moved into. This high-technology, not-defined-by boundaries, very-complex, multi-tiered lifestyle.  The days are gone where a car is one dimensional.

Q4: Ever look back at your decision to join Infiniti?

Bartsch: I love telling everybody that when Johan (de Nysschen) invited me to join, to be able to have one more big adventure before you get rolled out in the corporate wheel chair, is incredibly exciting. I mean this is a really rare opportunity. It’s rare when you have a brand that is in a good place but with the opportunity to take it to an even higher place. And you get up in the morning and you head out, and of course there are moments when you think “goodness.” But, at the end of the day, instead of worrying about how you are going to tweak 20 cars here and change market share by half a percent there, we are talking about a monumental shift of volume that is both short term and long term. It doesn’t get any better than that.


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