Nissan’s luxury car division Infiniti launched on this day in 1989, the same year that Toyota launched its upscale Lexus brand. The original lineup debuted under founding general manager Bill Bruce who introduced two cars in November of 1989, the Infiniti Q45 and M30. Both of these had previously been sold under Nissan in Japan. The Japanese domestic market (JDM) Nissan President acted as the base for the Q45, although The Q45 had a wheel base about two inches shorter in its first few years of production. The Q45 featured a 278 hp, four wheel steering, and an active suspension system. It’s primary compeition at the time would have included the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Cadillac Fleetwood.
The two-door M30 was based on the JDM Nissan Leopard. The car weighed in at more than 3,000 pounds, and its convertible version even more. Under the hood a 162 horsepower six cylinder engine created power, but it proved not to be enough for the heavy load. A third model, the G20 made its debut the following September.