Over the past months, American car bloggers bemoaned the demise of the Skyline, a Japanese iconic car which they officially never could get, but which they knew plenty enough from Gran Turismo and Fast and Furious. In the blogs, we were told that Nissan would axe the Skyline, and replace it with an “obscure alphanumeric,” a.k.a. the Infiniti Q50. “Kusokurai!” I heard today in Yokohama. Well, I did not really hear it, polite as they are, they wouldn’t utter a word that, in English, would be the same as my initials. However, the demise of the Skyline remains BS, as documented by a new Nissan Skyline that today was unveiled on the first floor of Nissan’s headquarters by the Yokohama waterfront. THAT was the easy part.
The all-new Skyline is a bit kinky. It goes both ways. We are in Japan, and here, that is ok. The Skyline has an Infiniti badge up front, but otherwise, it is sold and advertised as the Nissan Skyline . No alphanumerics here. There is historic precedence to that kind of hermaphroditic marketing. Previous Infiniti models, such as the Infiniti G35, were rebadged versions of the Skyline. Or, if you listen to Infiniti’s chief Johan de Nysschen, they were “unique Infiniti platforms, developed for Infiniti, and in Japan, we put a Nissan badge on them.” From now on, it is even more complicated. They take the Infiniti Q50, sell it as the Nissan Skyline, and they put an Infiniti badge on them. Yes, you did read right.
If you don’t believe my eyes and those of my camera, Reuters confirms that Nissan will “sell its redesigned Skyline sedan with the Infiniti badge on the front, steering wheel and wheels from late February 2014.” The crossdressing will be performed in Japan only, elsewhere, the car will be sold as the Infiniti Q50.
Nissan fulfills Johan de Nysschen’s wish, and brings Infiniti home to Japan, but only in a symbolic way. You still won’t be able to buy an Infiniti in Japan. You can buy a Nissan Skyline with an Infiniti badge. Basically, in Japan, the Infiniti brand has been degraded to a Body by Fisheresqe symbol for higher-priced Nissans. I’d be interested to hear what de Nysschen, usually a brand separation hardliner, thinks of all this. The car, by the way, was presented today by Hiroto Saikawa and Andy Palmer, both members of Nissan’s new central committee. Infiniti-chief de Nysschen was not present when Infiniti made its demi-debut in Japan, he sent his spokeswoman Nathalie Greve.
Specs of the Skyline are pretty much the same as the Q50, so we spare you the recitation. When the new Skyline goes on sales in Japan on March1, it will cost between JPY 4,496,100 (US$ 45,500) and JPY 5,537,700 (US$ 56,000).
To make matters even more confusing, the previous generation Skyline, the V36, elsewhere known as the Infiniti G, will continue to be sold in Japan as the 250 GT, 250 Type S, and 250 GT FOUR for between JPY 2,990,400 (US$ 30,000) and JPY 4,490,650 (US$ 45,400). The new Skyline with the Infiniti badge is internally known as the V37.