2013 Nissan Altima Has Sights On Toyota Camry, Development Referenced Hyundai Sonata

With public relations representatives heavily involved, it isn’t often manufacturers are very candid about their products and the competitions. There are, of course, some exceptions such as Bob Lutz. He just tells it like it is, and those of us following the automotive industry have appreciated that. Nissan/Infiniti executive vice-president of global planning and marketing Andy Palmer was pretty candid about the 2013 Nissan Altima in an interview with Wards Auto.

The Nissan Altima is currently the second-best selling passenger car in the United States, just behind the Toyota Camry. The Camry has held the title for a long time, thanks to an enduring reputation for reliability. It is the safe choice. With the 2013 Altima, while it wasn’t announced yet, we saw Nissan making a strong play for the top spot. A lot was put it into the cars design, as well as on increasing fuel economy.

Palmer says the goal is to topple the Camry, and the directive is coming from Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn. PHe also confirmed what most of us already knew: the Sonata shook up the competition. He says the 2013 Altima was delayed as a result.“Clearly, we referenced the Sonata when we were going through the design process…we even delayed development by a short amount just to check that the (new Altima’s) proportions were right, the (package) was right (and that) the product overall was right”
says Palmer.

That is a surprising admission from a top-level executive. It is true that the resulting Altima is more premium in appearance than ever before, drawing heavily from the flagship Maxima. Despite referencing Sonata though, Nissan still went for a more conservative design thanks to its desire to topple the Camry. Nevertheless, Hyundai made U.S. car buyers and the industry take notice three years ago with the release of its latest, aggressively styled Sonata. “I’d say they are our major point of reference,” Palmer says.

“It’s Camry that is in our sights, (and) the target market is, relatively speaking, conservative….[they’re] clearly looking for a vehicle with elegance but not so showy” said Palmer. Nissan has traditionally been the also ran versus Toyota and Honda, but that is changing. With the mid-size sedan segment more competitive than ever, it’ll be intriguing to see how sales shake out. The top three should continue to consist of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion for the foreseeable future.

About The Author

Tony Pimpo is a young automotive journalist who lives in Northern California. He believes the future of the automotive industry will depend in a large part on the recommendation of enthusiasts and Generation Y. More than ever, automakers lately have realized the power of Gen Y. Not only in regards to buying power, but in driving opinion and spreading a brand’s message through the internet and various forms of social media. His appreciation for cars formed at an early age, thanks to his dad, who has always been involved with cars in different ways over the years. Tony has contributed to various websites in his pursuits, and is on staff at GMInsideNews, where he has been writing since the age of 12.

3 Comments on "2013 Nissan Altima Has Sights On Toyota Camry, Development Referenced Hyundai Sonata"

  1. Mike

    Ford Fusion on of the top 3 for the foreseeable future LOL, it has a roundish grill like the mid 90s Ford Taurus, costumers remember that car for being unreliable and loosing half its value the minute it was driven off of dealer lots, Fords “bold” styling will NOT pan out for them, once Honda is back to running 100% the Accord will outsell ford all day long. I do think that the 2013 Altima looks like the best all around car out there and it has a very good shot of outselling the Camry.

    • Ed

      Can Honda recover though? The Honda/Acura designs has been uninspired for several years. They coasted on their reputation for a long time and let the competition catch up. Everybody makes quality cars now….style matters. Until Honda creates something that looks good – they are going to have a hard time catching up. Even Toyota realized they needed to spruce up the Camry.

      The new Altima looks great. And with phenomenal mileage, a great price and the Nissan nameplate, it has a chance to rise to #1.

  2. Randy Jackson

    The Altima is a distant 3 place to a Camry or Accord in looks and reliability as well … Their CVT`s suck in all models … They have terrible resale value as well … The Altima has never looked great …. and it ages badly as well with poor hardware on the outside as well ..

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