Infiniti didn’t have any big debuts at the 2013 New York auto show, but the automaker has been making headlines thanks to new hires and future products. In the latest episode of Wide Open Throttle, Infiniti CEO Johan De Nysschen meets with a few editors from Motor Trend to discuss the many changes the company is about to undergo.
Motor Trend Editor-at-large Angus MacKenzie starts the roundtable chat by asking about Infiniti’s appointment of three-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel as the brands new Director of Performance. What does his new role mean for the brand? “Sebastian’s task is to keep us true to the Infiniti brand values,” De Nysschen said. “We are a performance car company and we need to make sure that gets translated into the product.” De Nysschen says Vettel will provide critical feedback throughout a car’s development process. The group backs up the move by pointing out other partnerships between racers and automakers, including Ayrton Senna’s work with Honda in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Next, the topic moves on to the M37S and the automaker’s decision to make significant tweaks to the sedan following a recent MT comparo in which the Infiniti placed last. De Nysschen said engineers made many improvements to the car, including tweaks to its throttle response, steering, and suspension tuning.
The group then discusses the pros and cons of Infiniti’s revamped nomenclature. As previously reported, cars will wear Q badges and crossovers will receive QX nameplates followed by a number to designate their place in the lineup. De Nysschen counters the criticism and points out one important reason for the move. Meanwhile, in another video, newly appointed performance director Vettel takes the wheel of his Red Bull Racing F1 car and shares the track with the new Q50 sedan. After a lap or two, teammate Mark Webber joins the fun, along with an FX SUV (we’d say QX70, but we can’t tell if the badges have been changed yet).
Watch both videos below.