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LA Auto Show – 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe – Reveal

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…

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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.
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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.
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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.
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  • Joe Lang| April 5, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I personally think this car looks great. I’m 17 and lookswise this car is perfect for me. This will be the first car I own and I am very excited. I don’t understand why people are complaining that this car looks like the 350 or the G35.. that is only a compliment considering those cars look attractive themselves..

  • kelvin crawley| April 2, 2007 at 7:14 am

    This new Altima coupe is seriously ugly. i had hoped to see better coming from Nissan.
    I’m getting a new car this year and it would have been between the 2008 Altima coupe and the 2008 Honda Accord coupe. i guess you know which dealership i will hit this year. I’m very disappointed in Nissan. There is nothing new about this car at all. it’s a simple dupe of the Altima sedan, the Maxima and the 350. Poor job guys.

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