Nissan believes the Altima has the potential to overtake the Mazda6, Honda Accord Euro and Subaru Liberty to be Australia’s favourite mid-size import, and second only to the locally-built Toyota Camry in the mid-size market.
The Nissan Altima sedan is scheduled to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2013 in a range of specification levels and possibly priced below $30,000. The front-drive Altima is classified as a mid-size car and will sit below the Maxima large car even though, at 4.86m x 1.83m, it is longer and wider than the Maxima.
“There’s definitely a place for both cars [in Australia], at least initially” said Nissan sales boss Ian Moreillon. “They’re two totally different offerings that will appeal to different buyers”.
Australian models will get a 136kW, 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol version coupled with a continuously variable transmission. A 200kW, 3.5-litre V6 is offered on American models, and could come to Australia as a sporting variant to leverage Nissan’s V8 Supercars participation.
But it would then raise questions over the sales viability of the Maxima which has the same engine. Moreillon admitted this could be a concern: “We don’t want to have cars overlapping.” Because Nissan Australia is aligning itself with the American market for Altima, there’s little chance of a diesel variant, at least in the first few years.
Nissan believes new car buyers will be attracted to the Altima’s design, packaging, space efficiency and technology. The Altima has what Nissan is calling “NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats that help relieve pressure points no matter the occupants body shape or size”.
Nissan Australia could not confirm whether the Altima’s advanced entertainment and satellite navigation system - which integrates with Internet-based subscription music service Pandora and Google’s POI search - would make it to Australia.