Not a wheel has yet turned in anger on Nissan's Altima but it has already claimed a scalp. The arrival of the V8 Supercar's road-going second cousin twice-removed on showroom floors in Australia spells certain doom for the long-serving Maxima nameplate.
The new sedan's arrival in the last quarter of the year - following its debut series in the revamped V8 Supercar championship - will mark the end of the Maxima's 23-year run in Australia, as sales of the large sedan dwindle to a trickle.
The passenger car flagship finished last year with 1454 - down almost 25 per cent on the 2011 tally - although it's January sales tally were up on the back of a sharp retail finance campaign.
The demise of Maxima comes as the Japanese brand prepares to enter the V8 Supercar championship and bring to market a dozen new or facelifted models over the next two years.
"We have 12 new products over the next two years - the V8 Supercars is a great platform to seed the Altima, we're bringing that nameplate here to replace Maxima, we see that as a great segway in."
"Maxima will be phased out over the next 6 to 8 months to give Altima a clean run," he says. The brand has to wait until near year's end for the Altima to make an impact in the sales columns.
The triumphant return of the Pulsar nameplate to a market that remembers it fondly bodes well for Nissan, who don't feel left behind in the small car market despite Tiida's lacklustre performance.
"I don't know if we are behind, the last Pulsar was on offer in 2006, during that time we have maintained a 71 per cent awareness, Tiida after six years had 56 per cent, we believe Pulsar is the right product in the right segment at the right time," he says.
The Japanese brand last year finished with 79,787 sales - a 17 per cent jump on 2011 and its highest tally since 1990. It has started the year with continued momentum, setting a January record with 7202 vehicles sold - a 34 per cent increase on January 2012.
"Nissan’s popularity in Australia is on the rise and there’s no stronger evidence of this than our latest sales results," Mr Peffer says.