The first teaser images of the all-new Nissan Altima have hit the net ahead of the Australia-bound medium sedan’s unveiling at next month’s New York auto show.
Nissan Australia has confirmed it will introduce the Altima in 2013 as it aims to grab a chunk of the growing medium segment currently dominated by the Toyota Camry.
The top-down view aims to emphasise the aerodynamic design of the mid-sized Altima, and reveals a coupe-style tapered rear windscreen and short boot. Nissan says the car has a “low, wide stance” and a “sculpted profile”.
The front-end close-up gives us our first look at the Altima’s grille and headlights. Inspired by the Ellure concept, Nissan says the car’s new face has a “chiselled look exuding a new futuristic feel”.
The Nissan Altima is set to go on sale in the US later this year. The front-wheel-drive sedan will feature the Japanese brand’s new ‘X-Tronic’ continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is expected to work in tandem with four-cylinder and V6 petrol engines. A supercharged hybrid with around 190kW and 340Nm of torque will also join the range, and could become Nissan Australia’s first hybrid.
The Altima is an incredibly successful car for Nissan in the US. It was the second-highest-selling passenger car last year behind the Camry, with 268,981 units versus the Toyota’s 308,510. US Altima sales increased 17 per cent in 2011 – equivalent to almost 40,000 vehicles.
Many believe Nissan will give the Altima a high-profile launch in Australia by using the car for the brand’s V8 Supercars debut season in 2013.
Although unconfirmed at this stage, the US-sourced Altima is expected to replace the Thai-built Maxima in our market, with Nissan Australia unlikely to offer two similar-sized family sedans.
While never rivalling the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon in the sales race, Maxima is a household name in Australia. Its strongest performance in recent years came in 2004 when Nissan Australia sold 5329 of the large sedans.
Nissan Australia sold 1923 Maximas in 2011, the model’s best year since 2005 – a surprising result given the market’s well-established exodus from large cars.