Infiniti’s new concept SUV could be a game-changer for the company

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration
Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept Infiniti

Infiniti introduced its new QX Sport Inspiration concept crossover ahead of the 2016 Beijing auto show.

It’s a sleek luxury crossover concept that could signal an upcoming replacement for its QX50 crossover.

Although Infiniti characterises the QX concept as a mid-size crossover, it’s actually 5 inches shorter than the current compact QX50.

Apart from the dimensions of the concept car, Infiniti has made few technical details available.

The automaker remains tight-lipped about the car’s powertrain and on-board tech features.

The compact luxury SUV segment is one of the hottest and most competitive in the US market.

So far this year, sales in the segment have surged 22%.

For a luxury brand to succeed, a competitive offering this segment is a must.

Unfortunately for Infiniti, the QX50 — which debuted in 2007 — is simply too dated to compete with segment leaders such as the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes GLC.

Although, an update in 2015 has bolstered sales, the QX50 holds just 3% of the share in the segment.

Infiniti QX Sport inspiration

However, another possibility is that the QX Inspiration could spawn as new mid-size crossover that slots in above the compact QX50 and the mid-size, Nissan Pathfinder-based, three-row QX60.

“The QX Sport Inspiration comes at a time when Infiniti continues to expand its product portfolio globally — into new and popular segments,” Infiniti Vice President product strategy Francois Bancon said in a statement.

“We design concept cars with true production potential, and the QX Sport Inspiration offers a vision of how Infiniti could bring something exciting and new to the mid-sized SUV segment.”

Infiniti QX50
Infiniti QX50. Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

Either way, a fresh new crossover SUV offering in any guise is good news for Infiniti. The luxury sedan market, on the whole, is either static or even contracting depending on the price bracket. This means that consumer demand has shifted to a point where the only avenue for growth in the premium market is through new SUVs.

For Infiniti, the sweet spot that finds the perfect intersection between sales volume and profit margin is likely in the neighbour between $40,000 to $55,000 — exactly where a production version of the QX Inspiration would live.

Infiniti hasn’t revealed when the production variant is slated to arrive in showrooms.

The 2016 Beijing auto show runs through May 4 at the China International Exhibition Center.

Infiniti QX 60 2016
Infiniti QX60. Infiniti

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