The Nissan Maxima is set to disappear from Australian showrooms after more than 20 years as the brand’s flagship sedan.
Nissan chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura admitted there would be no new version of the Nissan Teana – called Maxima in Australia – confirming the all-new Nissan Altima would fill its role as the company’s D-segment sedan for right-hand-drive markets.
“[Altima] is going to combine every country with one car,” Nakamura told Australian media, including CarAdvice, at the car’s unveiling earlier this month at the 2012 New York motor show.
The Nissan Altima will go on sale in Australia in the second half of 2013, and at this stage Nissan Australia says it intends to sell the new model alongside the Maxima rather than introduce it as a direct replacement.
Although Nissan Australia is branding the Altima as a ‘medium sedan’, the new model is actually 14mm longer (4864mm overall) than the ‘large’ Maxima.
The Teana-based Maxima will be phased out at the end of the current J32 model’s lifecycle. Production of the Teana started in 2008 and is unlikely to run beyond 2014. Nakamura said the car may still receive some minor styling and specification updates but the body will stay the same until production ends.
The Maxima name will live on, however, with the US to get an all-new version of its Maxima in 2014/2015. The current seventh-generation Maxima sold in North America is based on the same platform as the Teana, but is styled and engineered differently to suit the market.
The eighth-generation US Maxima will share its platform with the new Altima and will have similar proportions, but Nakamura says its performance “has to be much better” than the Altima.
He said the design of the car was still to be finalised, and suggested it could have a wider track for a sportier stance.
Nakamura did not rule out the possibility of a right-hand-drive version of the new US Maxima, although it appears unlikely to head to Australia, with the car destined for only a handful of markets outside the US.
Nissan first launched the Maxima in Australia in 1991 to replace the locally built Skyline.
Maxima sales peaked in 2004 when Nissan sold 5329 of its large sedans across the country. More than 35,000 Maximas have been sold in Australia since 1996 (which is as far back as readily available sales records go), with annual sales typically fluctuating between 1500 and 3000 units.
Nissan Australia sold 416 Maximas in the first quarter of 2012, down 34 per cent from 2011.