New Infiniti ESQ Luxury Crossover to Launch in China

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Today Infiniti released their first teaser images of a brand-new luxury crossover they’re planning to launch exclusively in the Chinese market. It’s called the Infiniti ESQ, and CEO Johan De Nysschen described it to our friends at Jalopnik as an “irreverent lifestyle car for the hedonistic rebel.”

Are you getting excited yet? You should be; it’s not very often that we get a brand-new Infiniti to talk about completely out of the blue.

Infiniti ESQ Grille

Unfortunately, this new Infiniti ESQ luxury crossover isn’t actually a new vehicle… At least, not by the strictest definition of the word. Instead, it’s essentially a rebadged, premium-spec Nissan Juke NISMO.

If you’re anything like me, the thought of a rebadged Infiniti isn’t very appealing. After all, it seems like a rip off at first glance, and we’re not the only ones who feel that way. So, why is Infiniti risking their brand’s image with this endeavor?

Glad you asked. There are three reasons, actually.

First, De Nysschen importantly notes that China is home to the largest youth premium market in the world, and it’s getting bigger every year. There’s a big reward for building a brand presence there.

Second, the Nissan juke isn’t available in China anyways, so it’s not like they’re double-dipping.

Finally, Infiniti has already been considering a new “youth-oriented premium compact” for larger international markets. The new Infiniti ESQ is essentially an experiment to test the market’s response to this kind of car before they “sink a fortune into an untried concept.”

Infiniti ESQ Wheels

Looking through the images that Infiniti has provided for us, there are a few key features that distinguish the Infiniti ESQ from the ‘normal’ Nissan Juke NISMO. The Juke’s V-motion grille has been replaced in favor of a wavy mesh grille that’s much more becoming of an Infiniti. As you might expect, snazzy ESQ and Infiniti badging can be found throughout the design, and the Juke’s 18-inch 10-spoke NISMO wheels have been chrome-finished.

We don’t actually have any images of the new Infiniti ESQ’s interior other than the below image of the crossover’s dash. From the looks of it, it’s identical to the Juke NISMO’s dash save for the Infiniti logo on the steering wheel. Still, we assume that the interior’s materials/colors/tech. have all received minor upgrades to help the ESQ feel like a more refined version of its purely performance-oriented counterpart.

Infiniti ESQ Dash

Whatever your feelings are about cross-brand badging, hopefully you can appreciate the new Infiniti ESQ for what it is – an experiment that could lead to something bigger down the road. Either way, we’re willing to bet that there are plenty of young, hedonistic Chinese drivers who are ready and willing to fork over plenty of Yen for one of these new luxury crossovers.

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