Infiniti launched the Cefiro in North America as the "Infiniti I30" in 1995 for the 1996 model year. All I30 models were built at Oppama, Japan (the former home of the Maxima), commencing June 27, 1995. It replaced the Infiniti J30. The rear badge of the I30 used a cursive letter "I" instead of a matching font used for the "30" designation, as the "I" would have appeared as a number "1", labeling the car confusingly as the 130, in conflict with Infiniti's alphanumeric naming convention. As Infiniti's top seller at the time, the I30 remained the brand's mid-level model, joining the entry-level Primera-based Infiniti G20 until the introduction of the Skyline-based Infiniti G35 to North America for the 2003 model year.
While the styling of the Infiniti versions was essentially identical to the Nissan Cefiro sold in other markets, the same car with revised front- and rear-styling was also sold in North America as the Nissan Maxima as cheaper, lower-specification model.