Okay. This is it. We made it through the terrible 1980s. Last year. I had a hard time deciding which car introduced in 1989 would make the cut, as there were several models illustrative of the time period. Since they would define the early part of the 1990s, though, I left them off in favor of this:
1989 Infinity Q45. While the Audi/VW duo had been around for years, and even Acura had split off from Honda as the marque's luxury brand, it was the launch of the Infinity line that really sparked the badge engineering wars. While GM/Ford/Mopar had done it for decades, Japanese automakers had largely ignored the concept.
With the Infinity, though, the rules had changed. Nissan upped the game to improve on the already established Maxima to include a previously unheard of 8-cylinder engine. Toyota would launch the Lexus brand, and for the next generation a race was on between the two manufacturers to see whose upscale model would entice more buyers from Mercedes and BMW.
In a sense, it was very good for the automotive industry, especially for luxury marques. Looking at the Cadillacs, Lincolns, and Chryslers of the time (dear lord, the New Yorker was based off the gorram K-CAR...), the 1980s were an abyss for American luxury. It would take well into the 2000s before the American industry responded.
And next week, we begin the tepid '90s...
That is all.