June 22, 2012
Explaining the Altima
The latest Altima sedan recently entered production at Nissan’s plants in Smyrna, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi, with the newest version of the company’s best-selling North American model winning rave reviews.
Expectations were already high last October when my colleague Andrew Malana and I caught up with key players in the Altima’s development at Nissan sites in Phoenix, Arizona and Atsugi, Japan.
In the video (above) Altima Chief Project Specialist Toshimi Kobayashi discusses the philosophy behind the fifth-generation model, Atsushi Nishitani, associate product chief designer, explains the design team’s goals, and Ryan Rumberger, an engineer in the vehicle evaluation and quality group at Nissan North America, gives an insight into Nissan engineers’ passion for project.
Q1. How do you describe the new Altima?
Chief Project Specialist Toshimi Kobayashi:
One way to describe the new Altima is by comparing it to previous generations, but equally it’s about how Nissan can make a sedan that communicates enjoyment and excitement. It’s important that we express to our customers our belief in what constitutes a fun and exciting car.
Q2. What’s the design philosophy?
Associate Product Chief Designer Atsushi Nishitani:
The design statement we have established for this car is “suggestive aura,” which reflects our intention to create a fresh and prominent design with a provocative but enticing aura.
Q3. What reaction are you hoping for from customers?
This segment is in the U.S. is often considered a segment for appliances without much of a premium feel, compared with Mercedes or BMW, and ownership isn’t considered something that’s a pleasure. With the Altima, we want to spark emotions just by seeing it or even touching it.
Q4. What do you like about the new design?
Looking at the Altima’s proportions, the emotional expression is centered on the front face.
From that point, the energy flows in all directions. The surface design, especially on the body side – from the front hood to fenders through to the rear side – is extremely complex. As a result, it seems simple, yet is expressive.
Q5. What does the new Altima say about Nissan?
Ryan Rumberger, Vehicle Evaluation and Quality Group , Nissan North America.
I really think this is an important part of what Nissan is and the DNA of Nissan and Nissan people. It shows in the product that we produce and because the people who buy our products have a very strong passion for our product.
Deputy Editor, Nissan Global Media Center