Altima:

2013 Nissan Altima Mid-Size Game Changer

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Going on sale in July 2012,  the new Nissan Altima joins the most competitive car class in the market.  Representing the second largest car segment (after small cars), the mid-size car class is critically important to each manufacturer in the class; volume, profits and image are on the line.

It is hard to believe that the AutoPacific 2010 President’s Award Winner, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, is about to be the oldest major competitor in the class.  The 2013 Nissan Altima joins the new Toyota Camry (new for the 2012MY) and Chevrolet Malibu (2013 Eco model is on the market now) and awaits the launches of the upcoming 2013 heavyweights – Honda Accord and Ford Fusion in Fall 2012.

First seen at the 2012 New York International Auto Show in April, the Altima drew “WOWs” from the media at its unveiling.  The management of some competitors gulped and looked a bit nervous.  Most were very complimentary; the new Altima has gone upscale in a big way without adding much to its price tag.

Traditionally, the mid-size car class has been noted for its relatively bland styling.  That changed with the launch of the 2011 Sonata in early 2010 where over half of the buyers indicated that exterior styling was extremely important in their selection of the car.  Sonata’s swoopy styling broke the mid-size car mold.  The 2011 Kia Optima that followed the Sonata is strikingly handsome in its own Euro-Korean way.  Toyota stayed very conservative with its new 2012 entry and Honda is rumored to have continued its very conservative streak with the next generation Accord coming this fall.  The 2013 Ford Fusion is another game changer in the mold of Sonata and Optima, but even with Fusion’s advanced styling, Altima may have pushed the envelope the farthest.  Nissan calls it “Altimaness”. 


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LA Auto Show – 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe – Reveal

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The introduction of a new coupe is usually a controversial affair. We struggled whether to include the new 2008 Altima Coupe in the VehicleVoice “What Were They Thinking?” category and here is why…

Nissan Altima Coupe 08 Blog.jpg


1. Coupes are a struggling bodystyle.
Coupe sales have been deteriorating for years and only when there are really significant new entries does the sales in the segment spike. Mustang is the big dog and even though the Altima Coupe is officially a “Premium Mid-Size Coupe” sales will not be robust.
2. Altima Coupe is a me too. Maybe Nissan has extra investment dollars in the kitty that they can spin off a highly differentiated bodystyle off the Altima. No big deal. Not too expensive. But the Altima Coupe follows the Honda Accord Coupe and the Toyota Camry Solara Coupe and Convertible. In the future we can also expect a coupe from the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan.
So, not much original thinking here.
Nissan Altima Coupe SV.jpg

3. Coupes are package-challenged sedans. Once upon a time General Motors decided that a coupe should have a shorter wheelbase than a sedan. Looks sportier, you see. (Note the Pontiac G6 sedan and coupe have identical wheelbases). So, the Altima Coupe has worse ingress/egress, worse visibility and worse headroom. What’s good about that. Well, I guess you can argue that it looks sexier.
Nissan Altima Coupe 08 R34.jpg

4. Coupes are ego cars for management. Think about it. Auto designers always are the most proud of the coupes and sporty cars they have designed than of great sedans. More sex appeal. “Let’s design a car that a young guy would really like to buy. He doesn’t care if he can get into it, or out of it, or can see out of it. He just cares about style.” Car company management lusts to have the development of a successful coupe on their resume.
Nissan Altima Coupe 08 F34.jpg

With that anti-coupe flailing around, assuming that a coupe is OK, the 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe is a worthy competitor. The style behind the B-Pillar is what counts and Altima’s stylists have done an outstanding job. The resulting style has familiar Nissan coupe cues found on the Z-Car and the Infiniti G35. If they had to do it, this is a good job.
Nissan Altima Coupe Showstand.jpg


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Nissan Maxima Updated for 2007

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Announced Alongside All New 2007 Altima
Introduced at the 2006 New York auto show barely ahead of early summer 2006 sales was an update for the Nissan Maxima. The information on the update for the Maxima could be lost amid the much bigger news of the all new Nissan Altima premium mid-size car also introduced at New York. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents were among the first to get a look at the updated car in New York.

Nis_07_Maxima_bl_sh_front.jpg

With the new Altima shrinking in size a bit (on sale a couple of months after the Maxima), Nissan dealers may have an easier time separating the two products. Of course, the 2007 Altima launches with more horsepower (265HP plus) from an all-new version of Nissan’s VQ 3.5L V6, while Maxima continues with the current 255HP version.
Nis_07_Maxima_bl_sh_rear.jpg


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2005 Nissan Altima Ties With Buick LaCrosse for AutoPacific Premium Mid-Size Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Nissan Altima and Buick LaCrosse Tie for AutoPacific 2005 Premium Mid-Size Car Vehicle Satisfaction Award

AutoPacific VSA Blog.jpg

“Altima achieves class-leading performance in 2005 with a substantial upgrade to its interior finally complementing its outstanding exterior styling and powertrains. Now built in two plants, Smyrna, Tennessee (alongside Maxima) and Canton, Mississippi, Altima provides its owners a combination of style, size and performance that others in its class do not match. Think of Altima as an American-designed, American-made, Japanese brand Premium Mid-Size Car. Altima caters to owners wanting distinctive styling and driving enthusiasm.”
“The all-new Buick LaCrosse has what it takes to satisfy Buick owners demanding efficiently sized, affordably priced transportation. LaCrosse has a combination of new styling, generous interior space, driving ease and brand image that Buick owners have come to expect. LaCrosse – clearly a Buick owners have embraced. LaCrosse is American through and through delivering size and comfort to discerning buyers of American Premium Mid-Size Cars.”


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