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Nissan Altima



  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    IMO, the pre 2002 Altima competed directly against the 4cylinder versions of the Camry and Accord and the Maxima took on the V6s. Don't tell me prospective buyers of the Camry LE and Accord LX didn't cross shop the Altima GXE/GLE.
    As for press comparisons, one need not look any further than the Sept 99 of Car and Driver issue to find the 4cly Altima, Camry and Accord pitted against each other (and others) or the July 98 issue to see the Maxima, Camry V6, and Accord V6 face off.

    But with the new Altima and updated Maxima, I think most consumers are going to be baffled as to which car they are supposed to be looking at in the midsize family field. Its not as clear cut a difference as with the Camry and Avalon, IMO, for instance. I wonder just how well this strategy (or lack thereof) is going to work for Nissan.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    If you think that the Maxima V6 rather it be GXE, SE, or GLE is comparable with a base line Camcord I4, how can you say that WE cannot compare an Altima to a Camcord. I recall Car and Driver having a comparison with the Galant, Altima, Camry, and Accord back some time last year I believe. The Accord was at one time a compact car don't you know, back from 1990 until 1997(4 and 5 generation models) yet the Accord was still compared with the Camry, and at some times sold more than the Camry, so if you are saying that the Altima, given it's current size is not comparable with I4 Camrys and Accords you are simply wrong.

    Also, why would Nissan offer the Maxima with a 4 cylinder engine, the Maxima has always had a 6 cylinder I6 in the first generation. The Maxima is a slight step above the Camcords, it offers more, and is most times more sporty and luxurious(SE and GLE anyway.)

  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    Motortrend's October or November 2000 issue had a comparison between the Maxima GXE, Camry LEV6 and Accord EXV6.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    Look around in the car market. See how often Altima comes up on the same shopping list as Accord/Camry (4 cylinders even), then you know what I'm talking about.

    Accord/Camry is designed from the start to seat 5, haul a family of 2 adults and 3 kids -- hence the "family car" title they become known for.

    Altima (until 2002 model), has only been designed to carry 4, it can almost carry 5 packed tight, but can't really cut it (close but no cigar). Due to this, it's never been in the same class, commonly do not share the same shopping list.

    For example, I actually consided the Altima when I was looking for a COMPACT car for my wife few years ago. But ended up settling for the Mazda Protege, since it was roomier than the Altima still. But now that I'm looking for a family car, I didn't even consider the 2002 Altima until news leaked out that it was becoming bigger than the Camrcorders.

    The car market falls into differe segments/catagories. And Altima falls into the intermediate catagor of large compacts. Larger than many of the smaller compacts, but not large enough to compete for the same role as the Camcorders.

    Same reason why Maxima is in the same class as the Accord/Camrys. And while it's on the large end of the midsize cars, it's not a full size car. Why? Because it isn't designed like the Ford Crown Victoria/Toyota Avalon to seat 6 people. Hence it doesn't compete directly against them.

    Most car buyers shop with a set of goals they need to achieve. They want to haul an typical american family (2 adults and 2.5 kids), they shoot for the midsize, not something smaller. If they want a highway cruiser, they go looking for a fullsize, not something other than that.

    That's why Altima doesn't directly compete with the Camry/Accord -- it simply can't fulfill the roles the latters can.

    That's why the Altima didn't appear on my midsize car shopping list until now. Now, the 2002 Altima finally has the ability to actually compete as a midsize car. Simple? I hope that ends it.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    ...but I still cannot see where the Accord and Camry I4 compete with the Maxima, actually, the Avalon is only slightly larger than the Maxima I believe, it is really not as big as the LeSabre and Crown Vic, but it is a full size car. The Altima is doing exactly what Honda did back in 1998, back before then, the Accord was a large compact(like the current Altima is now) but for 1998 it finally became a midsize car, but it was still compared with the Camry, which has been a midsize car for a while now, I have seen people cross shop from the Camcords to the Altima. The Altima was usually choosen if people could not afford the Camcords, but I still think that the Altima is somewhat a competitor to the I4 Camrcords, but the Maxima is not IMO, it competes with the high end Camcords.

    Maxima competes with:
    GXE: Accord LXV6/Camry LEV6
    SE: None of them really
    GLE: Accord EXV6/Camry XLEV6

    Also, the Passat is a compact car, would you say it doesn't compete with the Accord and Camry, even though did a review of the Passat, Maxima, Accord and many others. The Passat might be smaller than the Camcords in dimensions, but in real life seating, it actually feels roomier.
  • ludacrisludacris Posts: 185
    Okay first of all as maxamillion said the Altima has been in comparisons against 4 cylinder Camrys/Accords. There was one a year or so ago title was something like "Cicada" or something. The one where the Mitsubishi Galant beat the Accord. Anyway the Altima ended up in the middle of the pack.

    If I had to put the Altima up against cars in the same size class I'd say the Chevy Malibu, Mitsubishi Galant, VW jetta, etc. But price wise the Altima IS up against 4 cylinder camcords. People that consider Maxima's dont want 4 cylinder engines, we didnt. When I stopped by my Nissan dealership the other weekend a salesman was showing a Maxima to a woman boasting of the V6 and she said "The thing is, I don't care about the V6. I'm fine with 4 cylinders". She then went on to ask about the Altima. V6 Maximas and 4 cylinder Accords/Camrys don't compare, pricewise, performance wise, blah blah. The only thing they're comparable on is size.

    Nissan has said that the Maxima's main competitors are the Acura TL, Toyota Avalon, etc. (from Autoweek magazine). Which sorta makes the I30 redundant..but i agree with them. The way I see it, the base Maxima GXE is up against better equipped Accord/Camry 4 cylinders or base V6s. Maxima SE is up against the Grand Prix GTP, Acura TL-S, etc. Maxima GLE up against high end V6 Camcords, Acura TL, I30 (go figure!), etc.

    Offering a 4 cylinder in the Maxima would be an insult to the name. How can a flagship have a 4 cylinder?!
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    The last time I bought an Accord, I did not bother looking at the Camtimas because the Camry was so boring inside and out and the Altima as so ugly and I wanted a V6 anyway. The Maxima was too expensive.
    Now the Camry and Altima will be something to look at especially since the Accord design is aging.
    Both look good for what they are. The Altima will be sporty and for the people who are disappointed that there is no 3.5 SL so they can have all the luxuries and softer, quieter ride of the SL as well as the power of the V6, will go buy a 2002 Camry LE or XLE V6 instead.
    People who are disappointed in any potential cheap plastic interior of the new Altima, will also go to the Camry since the rumor is that Toyota is going to undo some of the decontenting of the Camry that started with the 97 model.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    The 97 Accord also puzzled me. It wasn't big enough to really fill the role of a family car. The only explaination I have is that it was selling by repuatation alone. It lacked a V6, it lacked room. It wasn't really a competitor for the Camry. But it sold well... I guess people just bought into the Honda's myth.

    "I have seen people cross shop from the Camcords to the Altima."

    Yes, that's the exception rather than the norm. THere will always be exceptions, but the number isn't really large enough to matter.

    "The Altima was usually choosen if people could not afford the Camcords"

    Well, if you don't have the money, then you have to settle for something less, smaller, cheaper. Isn't that standard fare in the world?

    We then differ on one point only. You consider the Maxima to only compete against V6 camcorders, while I consider it competes against both the V6 and I4.

    You are basing your opinion on the fact that Maxima only has V6 engine, while Accord and Camry has also I4 versions available.

    While I'm basing my opinion on the fact that the Maxima is the only Nissan car that's in the same class as both the I4 and V6 camcords.


    Also, the Passat is classified as a midsize. It's designed to seat 5, and it is classified by EPA accordingly as a midsize.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    You said you would put the Altima in the same class as the Chevy Malibu. My sentement exactly. It's a large compact. But not typically considered a midsize/family car, like the Accord/Camry I4.

    Price wise, the a loaded Altima can go into the territory of the low end camcords. But that's natual since there is always some over lap between the ends of the 2n different classes.
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    as Kartez mentioned (and I was checking nissan driven right before seeing his/her post), check NissanDriven...

    what does it list as competitors to the GXE auto Alty?

    Camry, Accord, 626, Jetta, Galant.

    And those where the cars I was looking at when I was looking to buy mine, except the Camry. Don't want Toyota.

    Also, Carpoint compares the Alty to: (longer list) Passat???, Camry, Legacy, SaturnLS, GrandAm, Ply Breeze, Alero, Galant, Mystique ,626, Sonato, Accord, Leganza, Countor, Stratus, and Malibu.

    and the IIHS compares the ALty to other midsize inexpensives such as, Cavalier, Malibu, cirrus.stratus/breeze, leganza, contour/mystique, accord, sonata,626, galant, grandAm/Alero, Saturn L, Legacy, Camry,

  • har1bushhar1bush Posts: 207
    Ok, so why do I get the impression that I have just about everyone who checks this post agreeing with me, while you are on your own? I guess the rest of the world is an idiot except you. BTW Good job backing up your statements with some true hardcore facts -- would you like mommy to give you a little star now?
  • tcpip1tcpip1 Posts: 121
    Who cares about whether the previous generations of Altima's compete with Accord/Camry. We all know now that Nissan wants the '02 Altima to compete with the Accord/Camry, right?
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    According to my Consumer Guide the Malibu is a midsize, but they say that the Passat is a compact, I could be wrong. Either way, I am through talking about the 1998-2001 Altima, I am more interested in what info people are getting on the new Altima, anything new?

    BTW, I brought the latest issue of Automobile Magazine, to my surpise, the Altima's exterior was the 3.5SE, but the interior was of the 2.5S with cloth, which didn't look all that good, kind of like the cloth in the GXE Maxima. But I could live with it. The shifter looks nice, I am definately getting the 5 speed. I don't understand the review that well, all they seem to do is harp on the styling, one minute they call it "handsome" then they turn around and call it "derivative and bland" I just wish they would make up there minds. Styling on the new Altima is beyond any Nissan lately IMO, besting the current Maxima, Altima and Sentra. Although I still like the 1 generation Altima the best. Definately going to buy this car, I CAN'T WAIT!!!
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    Altima's exterior was the 3.5SE, but the interior was of the 2.5S with cloth

    that was the exact thing that kinda confused me last week but then i clicked. I wonder how the SE Sport V-6 Camry will do when compared to the 3.5SE
  • har1bushhar1bush Posts: 207
    no way the new Camry SE will come close to the Altima SE... I dont think Toyota has the guts to mess with their bread and butter sedan to make it more "sporty" as opposed to Nissan, which has always put out cars with the driver in mind first(although accomodations for the passengers are well thought out as well). Plus, the Camry will probably sport the strut suspensions front and back with 16" wheels -- the Altima will have Q45/Skyline-ish suspension and 17 inchers. Of course, the Altima also has the engine putting out much more power. I think it's just a matter of whether Nissan cut back a bit on refinement compared to the Camry.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    Hahah, nice try. Even your little failed effort at humor can't change the hard fact that the current Altima is in a different class than the Camry/Accord.

    If you think the rest of the world is with you, you better take another look around you. Seems to me, the rest of the world made it quite clear that they don't cross shop between the compact Altima and the midsize camrcords.

    Well, I won't go down to the level of personal insults like you are. I rest assured knowing the reality of the market. You might not think so, but hey, you aren't the majority of the population. :)
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    Passat is a midsize car. With a interior room of 95.5 cubic feet.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Go back and take a look at most of the discussion for the past 100 posts, and my reaction is "what difference does it make"? Who cares how the marketplace splits its perception of the Camry, Accord, Altima, and Maxima?

    Nissan has an opinion, and has acted on it. No one is going to buy any of these cars because of some preconceived notion about what niche they fit in the automotive universe.

    You drive, you compare, you make your choice. Give it a rest on the endless discussion about marketplace positioning and perceived strategic advantages. Methinks all of this is using bandwidth to no good purpose...
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    Anyone remember I posted the fuel economy figures? Comments? This was a big sticking point not too long ago, with folks writing the altima off for have SUV like fuel economy.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    26 MPG for the 3.5 V6 is acceptable to me. It's much better than the 18 mpg Nissan first released. 28 mpg would have been ideal, but 26 mpg is within the range I find tolerable.
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    Actually, not to start another argument, but Nissan never released the 18 figure, that was from an article, and noone has figured out if they misquoted or what, as early as last month, Nissan gave estimates very similar to the final numbers.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    The 18 mpg was released by Nissan when it was first shown at the autoshow. They stated that with the 20 gallon gas tank, the 3.5L V6 had a range of 360 miles. Of course, little math by reporters and journalists gave the 18 mpg figure.
  • The paint process for the new Altima. If I have one complaint about my black Maxima it is the horrible paint quality. My car is only 2 years old and it scratches so easily it is ridiculus. Be warned, Nissan is known for crappy paint jobs especially in dark colored cars. I wish I would have known to stay away from the dark colors (now I know!). Thank god it's a lease so I don't have to live with the awful scratches.
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    Umm, Wenyue,
    Actually, I know the article you are refering too, it was not written by Nissan, there was never an official press release from Nissan and it was never on their website quoting 18mpg or the math that gets you there. It seems that either the article misquoted or they were not talking to the right people. Nissan did not release EPA numbers until just a few days ago.

    BTW, for the interests of marketing numbers, here's some cross shopping info, anyone can do what they want with it, but I think this is the first hard numbers I have seen anyone post in reference to this.

    %of altima buyers that also shopped competitors,

    10.22% Camry 4 cylinder
    9.02% Accord 4 cylinder
    2.52% Galant
    1.13% Mazda 626

    % of maxima buyers that also shopped competitors,
    12.48% Toyota Camry V6
    4.96% Accord V6
    4.41% Toyota Avalon
    2.44% VW Passat V6

    Maritz second quarter combined study
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    only one out of ten of Altima buyers considers Camry/Accords? It proves my point. Not much cross shopping between Altima and Camcords.

    But I seem to have under estimated how much cross shopping that goes on between Maxima and Camcords. Only 12.5% of the Maxima buyers should consider Camr/cords? That's a bit odd. What's the percentage of cross shopping between Camry & Accord & Ford Taurus, the 3 sterotypical midsize car? It should probably in the high 70-80% range.
  • jimxojimxo Posts: 423
    All this discussion about these three cars and engine types is silly.

    It will take 6-12 months to see how the new Altima competes with the Camry and Accord. All this speculation is a waste of time unless you work for one of these companies.

    Lets talk about how much over invoice people are willing to pay. Next month we all will have seen and driven both cars and only then will opinions matter.
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    Just curious.
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    I thought you were the resident expert on marketing and what the people say, why aren't you familiar with the biggest automotive cross shopping survey out there? The way the survey is conducted, will show low percentages, it would be unusual to get something over say 20% or so. It does not include folks that just compared on the internet or magazines etc. What this shows is that the car most altima buyers that cross shopped compared with is the camry 4cylinder and second the accord 4cylinder, none was shopped more, the civics did not register nor did the protege. For the maxima, it shows that most maxima buyers who cross shopped comapred it with the camry V6 and second, the V6 accord, 4 cylinders did not register. you would never have something in the 70-80% range. So the people who are going to cross shop an altima are most likely to look at a 4cylinder accord/camry and the ones that cross shop the maxima are most likely to look at V6 camry/accords that is what can be drawn from the survey. And remember, like you said, marketing statistics don't lie.
  • I've seen pics of the new Altima and must say the styling is a bit too daring for the family sedan market. The exterior less so than the interior, I just think a lot of shoppers will shy away from the adverturous and go with the Accords and Camries. I personally kind of like it, but I've seen why people usually choose the Camcords - their interiors don't offend at all, and they are stylishly classy, if highly restrained. Most buyers of these cars are not willing to live with adventurous styling for years on end. The novelty fades fast.

    I took a look at the Isuzu Axiom recently (just curious) and its styling is BOLD. The exterior was beautiful except for the grille, which was just insanely designed. The interior had ALL the good stuff (LCD screen, auto climate, power seats, leather, shiny trim) but the car missed the mark on so many things. The LCD screen was an annoying hue of orange, the seats were only 4 way adjustable and had no height adjustment, the leather was thin and unsubstantial, the leather and plastic was colored a strange shade of 'carrot" which they thought was tan. These are the details that Honda (MDX) and Toyota (RX) sweat that make their cars so much more appealing. Now, that's not to knock the Axiom - for its price, you certainly get more than a fair share of excellent features. But that's the dilemma that Nissan is facing with the Altima. Are people willing to live with daring styling that will be dated after a year in order to get a better price and more power? Or are they going to stay with the conservative Accord and Camry, knowing that their cars will be tasteful many years down the road, which translates to a higher resale value?

    Like I said, the Altima is a promising car and will get a lot of buyers just as the original did after the Stanza was fading away. But looking long-term, the car will have to be revised if Nissan is looking to establish the Altima as a true competitor to the Accords and Camries.
This discussion has been closed.