“We didn’t put all of the investment into this product and put in all the features with an expectation to be No. 2.”
That’s the kind of brash, confident talking I like to hear from an auto exec. It might sound like something you’d expect to hear from the head of VW or Chrysler, but in this case the quote is from Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas, in reference to the 2013 Nissan Altima.
Yes, Nissan is serious about its latest sedan. Not only does it want a larger share of the market, it thinks it can take down the perennial number one, the Toyota Camry.
The new Altima is about 80 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, which, in addition to a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, helps the Altima to achieve best-in-class fuel economy of 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Output is rated at 182 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. In some sad news, a manual transmission is no longer available, replaced by a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The optional engine is a carryover 3.5-liter V6 that produces a more satisfying 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Like the four, the 6-cylinder comes only with the CVT, and mileage is rated at 22/30 mpg.
Inside, buyers get redesigned “zero gravity” seats that are supposed to mimic the position the human body takes in zero gravity, which reduces fatigue and soreness. I’m guessing that alone will put American butts into a new Nissan. There are also some cool tech bits, including steering-wheel-mounted buttons that allow for quick texts that say things like, “Can’t text—driving.” It’s hard to believe we’ve come to the point in society where we need such buttons, but so be it.
The new Altima, as cool as it may be, faces stiff competition from Ford, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and more. What’s more, there won’t be much in the way of extra financial incentives to buy, either.
I’m willing to build demand by putting value out in the market place. But I’m not willing to cut and trim profit margin to try and beat a number that one of our competitors is doing. We don’t have any intention of piling incentives on it to try to chase a number.
Would you buy a 2013 Altima over any of its competitors?