The all-new 2013 Infiniti JX is expected to bring the brand’s signature combination of aggressive design and enthusiastic performance to a fresh segment this year, with production already under way and a dealership debut slated for March. And while we’ve seen a similar effort recently from the Chrysler Group, which positions the Dodge Durango as a three-row crossover for driving enthusiasts, the JX will appeal to those customers who demand a more premium ownership experience.
Thus, in addition to its dynamic powertrain and highly capable suspension, the JX will offer goodies like the Infiniti Connection telematics system, a 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround audio setup with digital 5.1-channel decoding and Bose’s latest Acoustic Waveguide subwoofer, and the industry-first Backup Collision Intervention (BCI) technology. By integrating BCI with Infiniti’s blind-spot information system, the JX can not only help drivers detect vehicles and objects that may be crossing behind it, but also proactively and automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a collision.
The JX provides all the interior versatility one expects in a big crossover as well, ringing up best-in-segment marks for both rear cargo volume and passenger volume—boasting more second- and third-row legroom than a Cadillac Escalade—and the vehicle’s innovative seating solutions provide easy passenger access to the third row even with a child seat safely mounted in the second row. The JX also is projected to achieve best-in-class EPA ratings of up to 21 mpg in combined driving.
That’s why Ben Poore, vice president of Infiniti for Nissan North America, said “The all-new Infiniti JX embraces family customers in a way no luxury crossover has done before – recognizing their need to grow up, but without growing old. Responsibility should come as a reward, rather than as a restriction on the things and activities you enjoyed as a single person or a couple.”
Of course, Poore had much more to say about the coming JX and what it means to Infiniti, and—thanks to the folks at the Infiniti Media Center—Autobytel is ready to shed some more light on what should be a particularly bright spot in the brand’s lineup with the following Q&A.
Q: You were recently at the national meeting of U.S. Infiniti dealers; what do they think of the 2013 JX?
Poore: Our dealers, they are very excited. … [I]t’s a product that absolutely hits in the heart of the market: luxury family. This is a place where we’ve never played before, so, for them it’s tremendous growth and for us it means tremendous growth. And the product is just spot-on in all of the aspects of safety, technology, and value; I mean, it’s got it all, so the dealers are extremely fired-up about the future of the brand.
Made in the U.S.A.
Q: What does it mean to the brand that the JX is being built here in America, at the assembly facility in Smyrna, Tenn.?
Poore: [T]here is no better place to build than in Smyrna. We know the quality is there, and we know that the quality will be there with the JX. It’s a great opportunity for that plant, for our corporation, frankly, to take an Infiniti product, prove our quality here building it in the U.S. and then really having a short pipeline to get that out to the marketplace.
2012 Sales Outlook
Q: What is the sales outlook for Infiniti in 2012, and how will it be affected by the JX?
Poore: We expect growth in 2012. In 2011, obviously, we had some challenges. Had a tsunami hit us, no one could have ever expected that. Our sales were down about 5 percent, by the way, a little bit better [performance] than our Asian-luxury competitors, who were down in sales more than we were. So, we recovered fast, and now in 2012, it’s all about getting on the growth plan again. JX is center of that strategy. JX is all-new and will be all incremental volume for Infiniti. So, through the JX and through continued marketing of our current products, we’re going to get back on a growth path for 2012.
Infiniti and the NCAA
Q: Infiniti has a large presence at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this year. What can we expect to see, and will the JX be part of the plan?
Poore: We had a big presence last year and it’s only going to get bigger. We are going to do more activation on the ground. More overall advertising. More integration in terms of the bracket challenge. And the nice part is that the tournament is literally the centerpiece of our JX launch. Everybody there [watching] pretty much went to college, so you know there is a higher level of income, in general, in terms of the fans, and that is right where we need to be.
Infiniti and Formula 1 Racing
Q: Infiniti has a strong presence in the world of Formula 1 racing, and the series will come to Austin, Texas, later this year. How will that impact Infiniti’s reputation in this country?
Poore: F1 has been out of the U.S. for a while, and it’s got to come back here. It’s … the No. 1 global motorsport program. F1 hasn’t been big in the U.S., [but] it’s because there hasn’t been a race here. [Now], not only is there an upcoming event in Austin, there is another one coming in the New York/New Jersey area. So, finally, we’ll have two here, and Infiniti is a major global sponsor of the Red Bull racing team. … [T]hey are the world-champions for the last two years, and our tie-ins with them takes the excitement of our brand to the next level. Infiniti is all about Inspired Performance—there’s not a better way to represent that than with Formula 1.