To Infiniti and beyond...

Thursday 16th June, 2011
infiniti.jpg
I've been following Nissan's premium brand Infiniti for a while, since I saw the FX owned by one of my best friends in Chicago - it's a great looking car and fits the North American SUV category just perfectly. Needless to say, my ears pricked up when I heard that Infiniti planned to introduce a hybrid model of their M saloon - the M35h. Being an owner of the, soon to be replaced, Lexus GS-450h hybrid saloon and not being a huge fan of diesels I'm obviously keen to compare other eco-petrol options in the same class and the Infiniti could really fit the bill.

A quick glance at the info on the website reveals that the M35h power-train is couple to a smaller Li-ion battery, unlike the big NiMh battery pack that reduces the size of the boot on the current Lexus. CO2 is also a little lower at 162g/km compared with 180g/km for my Lexus.

What I really would like to see is the full emissions info for this car. Having low CO2 is one thing but having that in parallel with other low rating for NOx and CO is a whole different ball game. The "best in class" Lexus figures are clearly shown in the government database but none can be found for the Infiniti M35h. I was fortunate enough to drive this car at the SMMT Test Day but the staff available on the day were unable to provide specifications - telling me there were details in the car but, when I came to test drive it, the spec. sheet wasn't there.

I've tried to engage Infiniti through twitter, they started following me in February, and I even received a direct message from them on 25th February which read "Hi Ben, can you reply to this with your email address pls? Would like to get in touch next week. Have a great weekend!" - but, despite numerous attempts over the four months that have passed since...nothing.

Infiniti have since updated their (death by flash) website with further information and a brochure but still there is no emissions information available, apart from the CO2. Needless to say, I was quite excited when the website asked if I'd like to chat live to a member of their support team. Finally...a real human being that may be able to help. Sadly, they seemed to be based overseas, using a comma instead of a decimal point within economy figures that didn't match those on their website and it was 31 minutes of my life I will never get back.

General Info
Duration (actual chatting time)  00:31:12
Operator  Simona

Chat Transcript
info: Welcome to Infiniti Assistance. An Infiniti representative will be with you shortly.
info: You are now connected to Simona.
Simona: Hi, I'm Simona, I'm here to help you with any questions you might have while using the website today.  May I take your name please?    
You: Hi Simona, my name is Ben
You: I'm looking for some details on the new M35h
Simona: Hi Ben, sure I am happy to help you. I will give you some information regarding our M35h but why do you not download our brochure in the meantime?
You: I'm not sure the details I want are in the brochure
Simona: What details would you like to know?
You: I'm looking for details of emissions from the car
You: I see a CO2 rating of 162g/km but I'm after figures for NOx, CO and THC
Simona: Sure Ben, I can help you with that. The M35 h emissions are: combined 40,4 mpg
Simona: motorway - 49.6
Simona: urban - 30,7 mpg
You: those aren't emissions figures, those are economy
You: I'm after emissions numbers
You: e.g. looking at these numbers for the standard petrol car http://carfueldata.direct.gov.uk/search-new-or-used-cars.aspx?vid=25899
Simona: Sorry about that Ben. In terms of CO2 emissions we have : 162 g/k
You: at the bottom are emissions figures for CO, HC and NOx
Simona: Let me open the link you  sent me.
You: but that site doesn't detail the new hybrid model
You: I would like the numbers for the M35h
Simona: Ok let me do a further search to see if I can give you more information.
You: ok, thanks
Simona: No problem Ben.
Simona: Ok Ben here's wha I've found : emissions 170g/km and returning 38.6mpg on a combined cycle
Simona: That would be for the Hybrid model
Simona: And I would advise to download the brochure from the web site. You'll find more details on it. Let me send you the link, so that you have a look around and decide what you want to do.
Simona: Click here to download your M brochure.
You: yes, we discussed the mpg and CO2 above. Although you say 170g/km and website says 162g/km? You say 38.6mpg and website says 40.4mpg?
You: seems to be conflicting information
You: is there any way to download the brochure without having to enter all my details on the website?
Simona: You're right Ben , it is conflicting but I can get back to you with more accurate information if you wish. Sorry about the confusion. As for the brochure,I am afraid you need to enter your details..Is there any concern regarding that?
You: it's ok, I have the brochure now
You: it has no further emissions information though
You: it just says 40.4mpg and 162g/km CO2
Simona: Ok let me just ask you. What other information would you need?
You: As I said above, I'd like to know the NOx, CO and HC emissions for the car
Simona: Ben I think that the best thing to do is to speak to one of our specialists in a delership. May I just ask where you're based?
Simona: *dealership
You: Reading would be my closest dealer, but it's quite a distance
You: do you not work for Infiniti then?
Simona: I do but the service I offer is a web site assistance and we have a limited access to specific information.
Simona: If you want me to I can give you their phone number. How about that?
You: oh, ok
You: so you don't have access to any further information?
Simona: In order to get more detailed information regarding emissions it's best to speak to one of our specialist.
You: and I have to go to a dealer for that?
Simona: You can call them at this number  0844 2435 780
You: this is the dealer?
Simona: The one I just gave you is the Reading office number.
You: ok, thanks for your help
Simona: You do not necessarily need to pay a visit unless you want to book a test drive for September when the M 35 H will be available.
You: I have already driven the car, just can't find any emissions data
Simona: Ben I am really sorry about that, just try and phone them up and I am sure that they will be ready to help. So you've already tried driving the car? What did you like about it?
You: I found the seats comfortable
You: anyway, I need to go. It's the emissions data that is my main focus
You: thank you for your help
Simona: Ok Ben no problem at all. Thanks for contacting us and have a good day!
You: thanks, bye
Simona: Bye!

  1. 1) James Hind Said: (16/06/2011 14:06:50 GMT) Gravatar Image
    To Infiniti and beyond...

    Interesting insight into what those 'live help' people are actually like.

    I always figured some manufacturer sites have them as their actual websites are so poorly designed that it's quicker to ask the live help people to find basic info than to try and search the site for it.

  2. 2) Ben Rose Said: (16/06/2011 14:11:15 GMT) Gravatar Image
    To Infiniti and beyond...

    Most sites seem to use the same back end engine but service levels vary. I've had some excellent service from T-Mobile in the past, advice on price-plans etc. which ultimately led to an on-line sale.

    In this case, however, they seemed able to do little more than direct me to the brochure which I had already found and couldn't help me.

    Live chat is a great concept but training is key. In their defence, I wouldn't have expected their "on-line call centre" to know emissions figures straight off the top of my head but, seeing as we were already in an on-line environment, perhaps an offer to find out and email me the details would have been most appropriate.

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