After a few years of evolving its designs, Nissan has rolled out a major new one for the 2016 Altima, which evinces a new “Energetic Flow” styling outside and “Gliding Wing” interior layout. The automaker showed it off to reporters last week in New York.
The Altima on the floor in the New York art space hosting the event was the new SR, an entrant in the burgeoning sport sedan part of the biggest U.S. car segment, midsize sedans. Nissan says sport sedans and sport variants within that larger category now account for about 40% of total sales -- and that the 2016 model-year Nissan Altima represents “the most extensive mid-cycle makeovers in Nissan history.”
Nissan says Altima sales have grown 60% since 2009. And Eric Ledieu, head of marketing for sedans, sports cars and Nissan's performance sub-brand NISMO, tells Marketing Daily that to compete in the mid-size category in general requires adding a lot of value that the segment never used to have. “All of our competitors are doing that with improved technology, including safety technology, better fuel economy. It has required our best in engineering and development to stay relevant.”
He says the marketing program will spotlight -- in addition to other things -- the car's NissanConnect with Mobile Apps that includes Google-powered online search, social media platforms and an ability to download other apps. Ledieu tells Marketing Daily that despite the telematics advances, the key virtues that consumers focus on haven't changed much, even with the addition of a lot of infotainment bells and whistles. “While telematics are interesting to them, it is not the most important part of it. At the end of the day it's quality, durability, reliability and safety. Not that those other things aren't important. They are, especially for the young generation coming up, but it's still about the basics first.”
Ledieu says there are over two million consumers in the midsize sport sedan segment every year, “whether you're talking about Altima, Accord, Camry, Fusion. Not only are you talking to a 25-year-old, but a 65-year-old who wants have to an Altima as well. So traditional media — print, direct mail, radio and TV — are still very relevant.”
The car will be in a range of media, and will have a presence in Nissan Stadium in Nashville, as part of the multi-year relationship, he says. “This is one out of every four cars we sell in the U.S., so we are going to put big resources behind it.”