Nissan today celebrated Job One, the assembly of the first production-ready 2013 Altima sedan. The car rolled off the assembly line in Smyrna, Tennessee, at a ceremony attended by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam.
The first Nissan Altima was built in Smyrna in 1992, when the factory was only a decade old. In the 20 years since then, 4.4 million examples of the Altima have been produced. In recent months, the Altima has even become the second best-selling car in the country, after the Toyota Camry.
"Frankly, Nissan wouldn't be where it is today in North America without Altima," said Nissan vice chairman of the Americas Bill Krueger.
The 2013 Nissan Altima made its debut at the New York auto show. The new version of the midsize sedan adopts a more sculpted, more aerodynamic design, as well as an updated interior. Buyers can choose from a 2.5-liter inline-four engine and a 3.5-liter V-6, both mated to a continuously variable transmission. New safety technologies include blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems, as well as Active Understeer Control that can proactively apply the front brakes when cornering. Pricing starts at $22,280 (after a $780 destination charge), and Nissan predicts the Altima will return up to 38 mpg highway.
Going forward, the Smyrna, Tennessee, factory is slated to start production of several new vehicles. In September, it will begin production of the 2013 Pathfinder SUV, and in December Nissan Leaf production will start there. Then in 2013, Smyrna will begin production of the next-generation Rogue crossover. To make way for all these vehicles, in August this year Nissan will shift production of the Frontier and Xterra from Smyrna to Canton, Mississippi.
The 2013 Nissan Altima goes on sale in June.