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Nissan Australia is considering the next-generation Altima medium-sized sedan for the local market.

With the large-sized Nissan Maxima finding only 1923 buyers in 2011, the Japanese company is considering replacing the Maxima with a smaller and potentially more affordable model.

Nissan Australia general manager of corporate communications Jeff Fisher told CarAdvice the company is seriously considering the Altima or a car in the medium car segment for the Australian market.

Sales of large cars fell from 98,5853 units in 2010 to 78,077 in 2011, of which the Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon and Toyota Aurion make up more than 80 per cent. The medium-car segment (which is significantly more crowded) has also seen a slight decrease in sales over the same period.

Nissan Australia will need the Altima to perform significantly better than the Maxima if it is to achieve its goal of becoming Australia’s largest importer.

Details of the 2013 Nissan Altima, which is expected to make its debut at April’s New York motor show, are limited so far but the company’s global boss Carlos Ghosn told journalists at last week’s Detroit motor show that the new Altima was part of the company’s plans for this year, hinting at a late-2012 launch.

Although the Maxima nameplate has been around for some time, we suspect it is more likely that Nissan Australia will retain the global Altima name if it is to bring the model down under.