A gorgeous coupe no doubt, Infiniti’s all-new Q60 is a breath of fresh air in the segment and aims to be a solid alternative to the German trio (A5, 4-Series, C-Class) as well as a worthy adversary for the Lexus RC and the Cadillac ATS Coupe. Nissan’s premium marque has initiated production of the model at the Tochigi plant which has been making a variety of Infinitis ever since the company’s launch back in 1989. It’s also the place where Nissan's 370Z and GT-R sports cars come to life.
In order to get everything ready for the Q60’s debut, Infiniti had to upgrade the factory’s production lines and improve the stamping and assembly lines. A new lighting system is being used during the inspection process to boost quality control, and for the same reason, the assembly line is now being monitored by cameras hooked up to a video system.
Interestingly, Infiniti says the Q60’s Dynamic Sandstone Red paint required the installation of a dedicated paint booth, as well as newly developed machinery and manual processes to make sure the glossy, deep red finish will come out right.
The factory in Tochigi employs about 4,500 people and for the Infiniti production line Nissan has selected 216 Takumi (master craftsmen) to put together the Q60. A further six Meister Takumi have been chosen to check everything and make sure the luxury coupe's quality will live up to the model's premium status.
The 2017 Q60 is scheduled to go on sale in United States early next month from $39,885 for the entry-level version fitted with a 208-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. Upgrading to the newly developed 300-hp biturbo 3.0-liter V6 will increase the starting price to $45,205 or $47,205 if you want an all-wheel drive layout instead of the standard RWD setup. There’s also going to be a beefier 400-hp version of the six-cylinder engine in the Q60 Red Sport 400 model, with pricing to be announced at a later date.
Gallery: 2017 Infiniti Q60 production begins
NEW INFINITI Q60 SPORTS COUPE STARTS PRODUCTION AT TOCHIGI PLANT IN JAPAN
Rolle, Switzerland – Production of the all-new INFINITI Q60 sports coupe has started at the company’s manufacturing facility in Tochigi, Japan. Designed and engineered to perform, the Q60 offers a compelling combination of daring design, exhilarating performance and dynamics.
The Tochigi plant has been producing INFINITI vehicles since the brand was launched in 1989. The launch of the new INFINITI Q60 heralds the start of a new chapter in the plant’s history. To meet the requirements of the new model, a series of upgrades have been made to the production line, and innovative manufacturing processes have been introduced.
Upgrades to production lines
Industry-leading advances in manufacturing enabled INFINITI designers to draw the sharp angles and body lines that are characteristic of the Q60. The stamping and assembly lines feature key improvements, notably through the adoption of a unique deep-body stamping technology and new tooling machinery for the model’s unique resin trunk lid. To further enhance quality control, a new lighting system for the inspection process and a camera and video system on the assembly line have been introduced. Manufacturing, design and engineering teams worked very closely together to ensure that the unique trunk lid feature for Q60 can be realized with the highest quality at the Tochigi plant. In a world’s first application, this trunk lid is a hybrid combination of a resin skin on a steel frame. It gives INFINITI designers more freedom to develop shapes that can then be built in a single part.
Dedicated paint booth for “Dynamic Sandstone Red”
One major enhancement to the Tochigi facility is a new dedicated paint booth, which has been installed solely to allow production of Q60’s new “Dynamic Sandstone Red” paint finish. The glossy, deep red finish requires a new painting set-up, using a combination of machinery and manual processes developed by INFINITI’s most senior coating experts.
The new paint booth enables workers in the Tochigi paint shop to more finely control paint thickness and quality, and the newly-developed “Dynamic Sandstone Red” paint process is the result of testing several hundred variations of paint formulations and application methods.
Takumi and Kaizen
Tochigi’s 216 highly-skilled Takumi (master craftsmen) were picked from the plant’s 4,500-strong workforce to work on the INFINITI production line. INFINITI’s Takumi not only possess a particularly high level of technical knowledge; they are specially-trained in premium vehicle manufacturing, and have been chosen for their deep understanding of INFINITI and its core values. True to the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen – that of continuous improvement – Takumi undergo constant and intensive training to learn new techniques and skills.
Takumi work across every section of the Q60’s production line, including stamping, body shop, paint, assembly and quality assurance.
From the Takumi employed to work on INFINITI production, a further 6 Meister Takumi are selected – those with the highest understanding of premium car production and the desires and expectations of INFINITI’s customers. Overseeing every aspect of INFINITI production at Tochigi, Meister Takumi ensure the manufacturing processes at the plant are fully attuned with the unique blend of attributes that differentiate INFINITI’s products.