It’s the same story, more or less, every time North American automotive sales figures are released: the traditional sedan is bleeding market share from wounds inflicted by sport utility invaders.
Even luxury compact sedans are not exempt. Sales have been dropping for three years, obliging automakers’ strategists to redouble their efforts to hold on to their clientele.
Take INFINITI. This year the Q50 sedan lost its 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 in favour of three different engine offerings, without counting the almost invisible hybrid model. The base model comes with a 4-cylinder turbo take from partner Mercedes-Benz’ catalogue, while the other two trims add two cylinders and a pair of turbochargers to boost power to 300 and 400 hp.
Between the middle-brow Q50 and its high-falutin’ Red Sport sibling stands that 100 horses and… $4,700. At first glance, this extra cost can seem exorbitant, but in fact INFINITI is asking for more or less the same amount to climb from the 4-cylinder to the 300-hp V6. Really Nissan’s luxury division is just applying the same strategy increasingly in use throughout the industry: vary your product offering to please as wide an audience as possible.