The Infiniti brand mark is a branch of the Japanese automaker Nissan. Nissan initiated the Infiniti subdivision for North American in 1989 when they introduced their first American models, the M30 and the Q45. These cars were basically revamped Nissans, but they were marketed as luxury, high-end vehicles, and this rebranding initially helped their sales.
In the late nineties, Infiniti sales slumped as their cars were outcompeted by other foreign luxury vehicle brands. Although Nissan considered retiring the brand, they decided instead to combat this decline in sales by taking Infiniti in a new direction, merging with Renault, and developing more specialized, premium cars rather than upgraded Nissans. This tactic worked to distinguish Infiniti from its history of association with Nissan, and the 2004 G35 sedan became Infiniti's most popular vehicle, attracting younger buyers and earning the coveted title of Motor Trend 2003 Car of the Year award. Infiniti has continued to expand into new markets, introducing the first Infiniti vehicle in Japan in 2014.
Infiniti currently offers ten models, including three sedans, one coupe, four crossovers, one SUV, and one hybrid sedan. Their least expensive sedan starts at $33,950, and they currently classify their coupes and sedans with the “Q” prefix, while their crossovers and SUVs carry the “QX” prefix. The numbers of each model indicate their rank on the Infiniti hierarchy of performance. The Infiniti logo is supposed to depict a symbolic representation of a highway stretching forward into infinity.
Infiniti Defects and Recalls
This section by no means represents a comprehensive list of manufacturing and operating malfunctions, and it is advisable to check for complete information on any recalls that may apply to your vehicle in order to quickly and safely address them. The following information, however, compiles some of the past and current common issues that Hyundai owners may experience.
In October of 2016, Infiniti was hit with a class action lawsuit claiming that the brake pads and rotors from its 2014, 2015, and 2016 Q50S models with the Sports Braking System contain a defect which causes them to wear prematurely. The plaintiff, Stephen Brand, alleges in his lawsuit that he took the car in for repair multiple times for the same problem, juddering and shaking of the vehicle when the brakes were depressed at high speeds. The lawsuit also cites other customer complaints that indicate that this problem is reoccurring and asserts that Infiniti had prior knowledge of this defect but made no effort to remedy it.
Similarly, in December of 2014, Nissan settled a lawsuit concerning defective brakes in a few of its models, including the Infiniti QX56 SUV. The lawsuit alleged that a sensor malfunction would cause the brakes to suddenly fail without warning. This meant that drivers would be unable to stop normally which increased the risk of accident and injury. Owners of these vehicles can now file claims for reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses surrounding the replacement of the sensor.
Recently, in October of 2016, Nissan agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by five plaintiffs which concerned defective transmissions and, arguably, the intent to conceal the defect. The issue occurs in the continuously variable transmission (CVT) present in 2013-2014 Infiniti JX35 and QX60. According to the plaintiffs, the defect causes violent shaking and jerking or "shuddering" when the driver attempts to accelerate, causing increased risk of crash and injury. They also say that Nissan was well aware of the problem and was developing software to correct it, even as they sold the car to consumers without disclosing the issue. Nissan allegedly ignored subsequent customer complaints and continued to sell the vehicle. Owners of these vehicles will receive an extended warranty and free transmission software update. In addition, the five plaintiffs were awarded $5,000 each, and all legal expenses were paid by Nissan.
Airbag Deployment Defect
In 2008, Nissan recalled 200,000 vehicles including the Infiniti EX35, G35 Sedan, and G37 coupe due to a defect in the airbag deployment in the passenger seat. In this case, the sensor which determined whether someone was sitting in the passenger seat was functioning incorrectly, causing possible airbag failure in the event of a crash.
In April of 2016, 3.2 million vehicles were recalled in the US including models from Nissan, Infiniti, and Chevrolet for a similar issue. Sensors may fail to recognize the presence of a passenger in the seat and therefore fail to deploy, increasing the risk of injury. This is the fourth recall from Nissan for passenger detection malfunction since 2013, and the affected Infiniti models include the JX35, QX60, and Q50.
Many people may have heard about the massive recall of 24 million vehicles owned in the United States which utilize Takata airbags. These airbags, which may unintentionally deploy in even minor crashes, have a history of rupturing and exploding, sending shrapnel into the driver's face. The airbags have been blamed for 139 injuries, according to the New York Times. While the cars most affected by this defect are Honda models, the following Infiniti models may also pose similar threats:
- 2003-2005 Infiniti FX35
- 2003-2005 Infiniti FX45
- 2001 Infiniti I30
- 2002-2004 Infiniti I35
- 2006 Infiniti M35
- 2006 Infiniti M45
- 2002-2003 Infiniti QX4
- Keyless Ignitions 107
Carbon Monoxide in Cars with Keyless Ignitions
Nissan, the owner of Infiniti, is also one of ten large automakers that are being sued for failing to disclose the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning from cars which employ keyless ignitions. The lawsuit is ongoing and began in 2015. The cars, which use a push button to turn on and off, will only respond if the key fob is within close distance; however, if the car is not deliberately turned off, it will continue to run, even if the key fob is out of distance. This can cause the continued diffusion of carbon monoxide which has led to 13 deaths, according to the lawsuit.
Representation for Colorado Personal Injury Victims
When we invest tens of thousands of dollars in a product, we expect it to perform to a certain standard, not to mention provide basic and necessary safety precautions. Automakers will often assert that defects in their products are considered "normal" and therefore not the responsibility of the company. If you are considering taking legal action against the maker of your vehicle, or want to know how to participate in an ongoing class action lawsuit, contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal at (303) 852-2223 or online here to set up your free case consultation.