Nissan North America has commenced the production for the revamped 2013 Altima sedan, which the automaker hopes, will rival the family-sedan domination of the Toyota Camry. Nissan Americas Vice Chairman Bill Krueger disclosed that they did not put all of the investment into the vehicle and give it all of its excellent features "with an expectation to be No. 2."
The first 2013 model has rolled off the Smyrna assembly line in Tennessee. Krueger added that ultimately, the customer will be voting with their purchase whether or not the company sells more than anyone. For most of its 20-year lifespan, the Altima has lagged as the also-ran among family sedans.
However, in the months after the March earthquake in Japan last year, the vehicle jumped into the No. 2 spot within the segment. It surpassed the Honda Accord and trailing closely at the Camry. With both rivals currently seeking to recoup lost ground, Nissan intends to capitalize on the gains.
The redesigned 2013 model boasts of segment-leading fuel economy and car weight. However, other challengers are also in pursuit to get a bigger share of the mid-sized sedan segment.
Among these challengers is the big-selling Hyundai Sonata, as well as the three vehicles that are revamped for 2013 model year, namely the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord.
Krueger stated that product enhancements will sell the Altima. He also revealed that there are no plans to increase incentives, emphasizing that their "best foot forward" will be the product itself. Nissan is expanding plant capacity for the Altima at the Smyrna facility and at Canton production site in Mississippi.
The Canton site will be Altima's second production location in North America. Specifically, the Smyrna plant is adding 1,000 employees to implement a third production shift later in 2012.
Managers are also taking steps to boost assembly line speed in the Canton facility to add 20% more output. Krueger remained cautious regarding the number of Altima units which Nissan North America will manufacture in 2012 or is capable of building once the changes are implemented. The two facilities are highly flexible, capable of shuffling output from one model to another with minimal effort.
Being the second-best selling car in the United States in 2011, expectations are high for the new fifth generation Nissan Altima. One of five all-new Nissan models, the 2013 Altima is set for introduction in the next 15 months.
Usually, automakers would take the safest route in terms of upgrades, making minimal restructuring or remodeling as much as possible so as not to “upset the existing owner base”. However, Nissan is doing it the other way around with the Altima. According to Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America, Nissan is keeping to its ‘Innovation for All’ philosophy, taking its most successful model (which is the Altima) and changing almost everything in it – from the looks to the feel, the whole driving experience and even in terms of technology including minute details like the headlights and windshield wipers.
Built upon a strong fundamental reputation which it earned for more than four generations and two decades, the resulting vehicle is of high quality and reliability with an additional touch of innovation, fuel-efficiency, dynamic performance and premium style.
Among its class, the 2013 Nissan Altima is by far the “most engaging, purposeful and energetic”. Carolin even remarks that while people liked the previous Altima, the newest version makes you love it even more. He even tells first-time users to prepare themselves for a redefined mid-size sedan driving experience.
The 2013 Altima has a so-called “premium presence”, among its many features; a “class above” appeal that is more understandable at first look and first touch of the interior and exterior of the car.