INFINITI G20 RETURNS TO JOIN G25 AND G37 – WITH A MERCEDES ENGINE

Not long after The Good Car Guy explained the merits of a lesser-engined Infiniti G, Infiniti revealed plans for a lesser-engined Infiniti G, likely to be the Infiniti G25. Most likely generating somewhere between 210-230 horsepower (and slightly less torque), the 2011 Infiniti G25 will boost Infiniti volume by making entry into the Infiniti family more affordable. (*July/10 update* China’s Infiniti G25 produces 232 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque, the 2.5L also being available in the EX25.)

With news of Renault-Nissan allying with Mercedes-Benz, we knew it wouldn’t be long before technology-sharing details emerged. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced that a Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder engine would be placed under the hood of the Infiniti G. Can you say Infiniti G20? (*August 13th update* Infiniti G25 Official Price & Specs)

A three-pronged Infiniti G family would do wonders for Infiniti’s Sales Stats in North America. In 2009, the Infiniti G37 was the third best-selling car in its class in the USA, and the fourth best-selling car in its class in Canada. The Infiniti brand, although much more successful than it was even in the recent past, was still only the eighth best-selling luxury brand in the USA in 2009. How can Infiniti remedy the situation? Get the details on Infiniti’s growing G family after the jump.
Germany’s BMW, Infiniti’s most obvious competitor, competes in the U.S. Marketplace with nine different models. Infiniti has just five. More telling is BMW’s use of multiple bodystyles for the 1-Series, 3-Series, 5-Series, and 6-Series. Add to that eight BMW M cars (including two SUVs) and, historically, at least two engines for every new BMW product line. Only the Infiniti M and Infiniti FX, a Good 12 Supersize winner, have optional engines. Only the Infiniti G37 can be had in unique bodystyles; a coupe and hardtop convertible in addition to the sedan. And only the Infiniti G37 is available with a dying – but still appreciated – transmission design, a traditional manual.

Augmenting the Infiniti G lineup with a G25 and G20, even at drastically lowered prices, is a Nissan beancounter’s dream. R&D for the current generation of the Infiniti G is done. If stripping out a bit of equipment, altering the transmission, and slotting in a smaller engine necessitates a price drop, the drop won’t be nearly enough to strip away profit. After all, the Infiniti G37 has sold well enough to recoup the company’s investment. 

This leads us to the most important question. The Good Car Guy suggested way back in September that a smaller-engined Infiniti G, priced just under $30,000, would result in 2,500 more sales each month in the U.S. The current Infiniti G37 has a base priceof $33,250. If the G25 could come in at $29,990, would that mean an Infiniti G20 could be priced at $27,850? Or am I expecting too much of a price drop for these lower-rung Infiniti Gs?

Over at Infiniti’s Japanese rival, Acura, the 4-cylinder Acura TSX costs $29,310. If the Infiniti G25 is priced too closely to the $33,250 G37, say $31,300, nobody will buy the G25. If the G25 is priced close to the 4-cylinder Acura TSX, even a few hundred dollars above, the G25 will attract buyers from all over. Obviously a 4-cylinder Infiniti G would have to come in way under the G25, or else consumers’ll consider the G20 to be a bad deal in light of the G25. $27,850 is way less than the $29,150 BMW 128i; substantially less than the $31,450 Audi charges for a turbocharged 4-cylinder in the A4. Bargain basement pricing could therefore result in a strong scent of success.

For Canadian Infiniti lovers, consider this. The Infiniti G37 starts at $38,690. Perhaps $34,500 isn’t too high a hope considering the $34,900 asking price for the BMW 323i. Move on down to $31,900 for the Infiniti G20 and the $34,400 Lexus IS250 starts to look unattractive.

And what about horsepower? 4-cylinder engines currently fitted to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Across The Pond include a powerplant with 156 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque; another with 181 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque; yet another generating 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque; and a final mill with 201 horsepower and 229 lb-f of torque. Different forms of aspiration and fuel economy expectations result in the unique outputs. Even on a quest for fuel economy, it seems doubtful that Infiniti would offer an G20 in America with less than 180 horsepower.

Related From GoodCarBadCar.net
How Infiniti Will Sell 2,500 More Cars Every Month In America
Lexus vs Acura vs Infiniti – Which Sells Best
2009’s Best-Selling Luxury Auto Brands In The USA
2009’s Comparison Of Entry-Luxury Car Sales In The USA