The Altima has been Nissan's big success story for the past few years, passing up the Honda Accord several times over the past 12 months, and is now looming large in the Toyota Camry's rearview mirror, poised to take the midsize throne. But it seems that Nissan isn't content to limit the Altima's success to just the U.S. market. The company plants to take the Altima brand worldwide.
Nissan is starting production of the Altima at its Canton, Mississippi plant, which also builds the Titan fullsize pickup and Armada SUV, both of those models being relatively low-volume models for the brand. With the plant's current annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles a year, soon to be expanded to 400,000, it only made sense to use the under-utilized capacity to make room for the strong-selling Altima.
Nissan's D platform underpins the Altima, Maxima, and an overseas variant known as the Teana. But based on a quote from Nissan's director of export operations Jerry Brickett, the Altima brand could potentially go global as well, with Mexico, Canada and the Middle East being areas targeted for growth. "We have the right product at the right time for those growing markets, and it will really help to grow the brand recognition with a strong product like Altima," Brickett said. Whether or not this means the Altima will supplant the Teana brand in some overseas markets remains to be seen, but it's clear Nissan wants to make Altima a more widely-recognized brand around the world. The Teana name is used primarily in the Asia-Pacific and South American markets.
The 2013 Altima has made headlines for the four-cylinder models' class-leading 38 mpg highway and 27 mpg city, the highest fuel economy of any non-hybrid or non-diesel midsize sedan sold in the U.S.