Toyota has Lexus.
Honda has Acura.
Mazda had Amati (emphasis on the had … which is a story for another time, and an interesting one at that)
Subaru has … head gasket issues? Just joking.
But what about Nissan?
Nissan’s luxury export brand is Infiniti; taking some of Nissan’s best vehicles (particularly those originally intended for the Japanese domestic market) and then adding additional creature comforts and improvements and then packaging them up as Infiniti models.
Infiniti launched in 1989 with the Q45, which was a rebadged and tweaked Nissan President (still one of the coolest names ever for a car) and has had a string of popular vehicles since.
Although Infiniti hasn’t reached quite the same level of success as Lexus, the brand has a loyal following and some excellent vehicles, such as the Infiniti G35 … which is the export version of the x gen Nissan Skyline. You can learn more here in our article about the Infiniti G35 vs Nissan 350Z and which is the better car.
You don’t have to look far online to see a lot of people saying that Infiniti has lost its way in recent years, and hasn’t really had a good car since the G37, but that’s a topic for another time.
In this article, we are more interested in the meaning of the Infiniti name.
Like many brand names, it can be hard to understand the origin story of Infiniti. But what does Infiniti mean?
In this edition of Car Facts we are going to get to the bottom of the meaning of Infiniti.
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Compared to some other car brands, Infiniti’s meaning is actually rather simple.
It is a deliberate misspelling of the word infinity – as in ‘to infinity and beyond’ off Buzz Lightyear fame.
Presumably the name is meant to invoke notions of infinite luxury, infinite performance and so on.
As to why it is spelled differently?
How else would the branding agency that came up with the concept have earned their no doubt massive fee?
By spelling Infinity as Infiniti, it does – at least in our view – carry more class and sophistication, and is a more interesting brand name.
Ok, that’s a bit harsh.
The story of Infiniti’s brand name is a bit more complex – but elements of the over-simplification above are true.
Back in 1985 Nissan’s “Horizon Task Force” (which had been given the responsibility of developing a luxury offshoot brand for export purposes) approached legendary branding agency Lippincott and Margulies to develop a brand.
Around 1000 potential names were floated, and eventually “Infinity” was settled on.
According to Lippincott partner James Bell, the name was designed to serve a definite purpose of conveying the pursuit of new horizons of luxury motoring and performance (which ties back in to the ‘Horizon’ task force concept). The name also needed to be short, memorable and easy to pronounce.
Dropping the Y for the I was a purely aesthetic choice, making the brand name look more appealing and “balanced” by starting and ending with an I. It also helped to make the name more unique and less likely to be confused with anything else.
What Does The Infiniti Logo Mean?
The Infiniti logo is meant to depict the infinite horizon (the top rounded element) with the arrow pointing towards said horizon.
In other words, it is a representation of infinity with you moving towards it … or words to that effect
Recap – What Does Infiniti Mean?
Basically, the name is just a deliberate misspelling of infinity … meant to invoke connotations of an unending pursuit towards a horizon automotive perfection (at least according to the marketing minds that came up with the name)
Although Infiniti doesn’t have the same cachet as Lexus – at least from a brand perception perspective – the Infiniti name is surely more meaningful in it terms of its translation (read our Lexus name meaning guide here for a more detailed breakdown of what that brand name means)
If you have any other information about the meaning of Infiniti, then please consider leaving a comment below – or would be great to hear from you.