Infiniti is the latest Japanese automaker to reveal a new performance car which challenges the luxury perception of the brand.

Over the past two years, nearly every Japanese automaker has debuted either a production or concept sports car. This comes after a relatively long span of time since models like the NSX, RX-7 and Supra were taken out of production. For a time these automakers intensely focused of the mainstream end of the market continually refining models like the Civic, Accord and Camry. Strong consistent sales of bread winning models couldn’t last though and quality issues eventually tarnished brands like Toyota. The earthquake also played a part in inconsistent manufacturing and delivery schedules which affected sales. So why exactly the move back to producing flashy performance cars? Is it purely a marketing exercise? We asked that question to Phil Patton, a contributor to the Wheels blog on the NY Times.

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