Monday, May 5, 2014

Infinity Q45: Nissan's 1990 Zenmobile

In the late 1980s Japan was riding high economically.  Japanese investors were buying up properties in the United States much to the horror of many Americans.  The U.S. automobile industry was operating on the notion that the Japanese could build and successfully sell small and perhaps medium-sized cars in America, but the market for the more profitable large and luxury cars could be defended.

Then came the Lexus from Toyota, the Acura from Honda and the Infiniti from Nissan, brands targeting the upper-middle to luxury size and price ranges.

The Wikipedia link above mentions that Infinitis were Americanized versions of top-of-the-line Nissans marketed in Japan, which helped reduce the cost of launching a new brand overseas.

One feature of the Infiniti launch was a series of television commercials and a print advertising campaign showing rocks, water, and nature in a tranquil mood -- a Zen sort of thing with no images of the cars themselves.  Some links dealing with this are here, here and here.

A wisp of this Zen spirit could actually be found on the cars, as can be seen below.


Front and rear three-quarter views of the Infiniti Q45

Front view.  Hmm.  Look at that medallion.

Medallion closeup.  Most automobile insignia are like the wedged oval in the center of the medallion, a symbol Infiniti maintains to this day.  These are simple, crisp shapes with similar settings, if present.  Flowery details typically come in the form of traditional symmetrical framing elements for heraldic shields.  But the botanical background on the Infiniti medallion is not a symmetrical frame.  It is vaguely Zen-like, in the spirit of the advertising.

It didn't take many years for both the medallion and Zen-themes advertising to disappear because Infiniti sales were disappointingly low.

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