Nissan Motor Corp. is hoping that its redesigned Nissan Murano that would be unveiled at the New York Auto Show this week would be able to grab attention and capture more sales. In effect, Nissan would be trying to emulate a similar case as with the Hyundai Sonata, which became a serious mid-sized sedan contender following its styling overhaul in 2009.
Nissan brand's global design chief Mamoru Aoki is seeking answers on how the brand's so-so image and how to transform the Altima sedan into one of the top mid-sized family cars. He is hoping that the answer lies in the new design language that will make its debut in the third-generation Murano crossover.
The new Murano boasts of a chiseled aerodynamic look similar to the Resonance concept vehicle unveiled at the 2013 Detroit auto show. The Murano would serve as litmus test as to whether the design language would provide success to its sedans, the real focus of the overhaul. Aoki told Automotive News that its sedans are weak image-wise, with not so strong an impact on the market.
Aoki hopes the design overhaul would drive Nissan's sedans to the top of the sales race. The Altima has been trailing behind the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in its segment and is looking to benefit from the overhaul to overtake them.
For the first two months of 2014, Altima managed to lead the segment in sales, but the Camry was able to reclaim the front position in March. In the first quarter of the year, Camry was the best-selling sedan with 94,283, followed by the Altima with 89,285 units.
The Accord was third at 79,188. Aoki said that catching up with the Accord and Camry is not enough, and Altima should be ahead of the race. He is looking to the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, for inspiration in terms of the resulting design of the new sedan. He described the overhaul as “one big jump.”
Nakamura disclosed that one of the central concepts for both the exterior and interior of the new Nissan Murano was to “elevate your experience,” which is quite the opposite of the attributes of traditional sport utility vehicles: heavy and chunky. This concept helped the carmaker to pursue high levels of aerodynamic and the three key elements of Nissan’s future designs: the V-Motion front end, signature lighting and the floating roofline.
Tagging along with the concept of futuristic travel, the Murano is provided with a design that visually pulls onlookers like gravity, while at the same time defies gravity by glass and flowing lines that convey lightness of form.
The new generation of the Murano retained the large glass areas of the first generation, but expanded it with the new design. To this end, the new Murano employed jet-inspired roof and D-pillars seemingly separated from the roof – both helping visually lighten the interior, leading to a distinct floating appearance and feeling,
Meanwhile, the new Murano is fitted with refined versions of the boomerang-style headlights and rear lights that made their debut on the Nissan 370Z. In the new Murano, these lighting units are provided with characteristic slim Signature lights, thereby underscoring the boomerang and shapes of the lamps.
Nakamura remarked that LED Signature lights -- with LED daytime running light accents – are easily identifiable at night. He noted that these lighting units presented an engineering challenge for Nissan, as they needed to be extensively tuned to refine their shape and light intensity.