The Remarkable Story of Fortune Magazine's Confusion Over Cuba


The Q60 does Havana. Source: www.fortune.com
   WE KNOW THAT some American news outlets get Cuba, and for that matter, get cars. Fortune appears lacking on both counts.
   Sad evidence of this is supplied in "The Amazing Tale of How Cuba Saw Its First New U.S. Car in 58 Years," a web piece in which staffer Sue Callaway accompanies Infiniti design boss Alfonso Albaisa on his first visit to the island his parents left in 1962.
   Also on the trip: a pre-production 2017 Infiniti Q60 coupe for Albaisa to show off in a country where, in his words, "the romance of the automobile is still completely alive."
   U.S. car?
   Despite the contributions to its styling by Infiniti's San Diego design centre, the Q60 is about as American as sukiyaki.
   Just like its predecessor, the Infiniti G37, the Q60 shares its platform with the Nissan 370Z. And it's built at the same Tochigi factory as the 370Z.
   It's Japanese.
   Perhaps Fortune was confusing it with the similarly named QX60, the sole Infiniti model produced at Nissan's plant in Smyrna, Tenn. But one's an artfully penned coupe, just introduced for the 2017 model year, and the other's an SUV-crossover-family-truckster-thing that's been around for years.
   And could even the QX, Tennessee assembly notwithstanding, be considered an American car, any more than a Toyota Camry (Georgetown, Ky.) or Honda Accord (Marysville, Ohio)?



Albaisa with a smaller version of the coupe he designed, finished
 in the same Dynamic Sunstone Red as the car he took to Cuba.
   But hey, Cuba got to eyeball its first new car from somewhere else in 58 years, right? Er, no.
   Cubans have been exposed to plenty of new American models, brought in by diplomats and foreign companies doing business on the island. I've come across made-in-the-U.S.A. Chevrolet and Ford pickup trucks bearing the logo of Sherritt Resources, the Canadian natural resources company with a big presence in Cuba.
   And they've seen many new Asian and European cars, especially since import restrictions were eased in 2013. They saw lots of new Soviet cars, too, even if those cars looked old right out of the box.
   So when Fortunista Callaway says in an accompanying video that "Infiniti makes history for America" by sending a Q60 coupe to Havana for some sight-seeing, I'm not sure what she means.
   Or what the magazine means with its breathless "Amazing Tale" headline.
   But I guess "Here's an Account of a Miami Man's Visit to the Island of His Parents Along With a Sports Car He Designed for a Japanese Automaker" wouldn't have had the same punch.




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