Are Crossovers and SUVs Becoming Daddy’s Car? Nissan Thinks So and Hopes It’ll Boost Sedan Sales
Nissan’s betting big with the launch of the sixth-generation Altimaby Kirby, on
Just as almost every automaker is stirring into the SUV skid, Nissan is stirring against it with the launch of the sixth-generation Altima. The Japanese auto brand is pulling out all the stops with the new version of the midsize sedan that, according to the company, represents “one of the highest investments in the history of Nissan.” The new Altima sits on a new platform, a new engine, and a new all-wheel-drive system.
Nissan’s not kidding with the amount of money and resources it spent to develop the sixth-generation. The new Altima represents Nissan’s move against an establishment that veered towards SUVs at the expense of its sedan lineups. Ford, most notably, is phasing out its sedan lineup in the U.S. to focus its attention on crossovers, pickups, and SUVs. The Blue Oval’s position isn’t new across the industry, but Nissan isn’t having any of it.
“The future is bright for sedans,” Bruce Pillard, the marketing manager for the 2019 Nissan Altima, told The Detroit Bureau. Evidently, Nissan doesn’t think the sedan market is headed for the woodshed like so many automakers do. He’s not saying that using empty words, too. If anything, Pillard’s statement reinforces Nissan’s goal to heavily invest in the sedan market, as shown by the number of resources it poured into the development of the sixth-generation Altima.
Nissan’s rationale for keeping the sedan flame alive is simple to the point that it’s right under our noses.
According to the company, conversations with young buyers, specifically those belonging in the Gen-Z era, revealed that many of them aren’t too hot on the idea of driving crossovers and SUVs, saying that they “didn’t want to drive daddy’s car.”
The sentiment sounds ridiculous on the surface, but it does fall into the same generational preference that the auto industry has seen over and over again in the past. Remember when station wagons were the coolest things to drive? That was the case when Baby Boomers were young. Eventually, the wagon’s popularity faded when Gen-Xers came into the picture, a lot of whom preferred minivans, pushing that segment to the top of the food chain. Today, crossovers and SUVs occupy that top spot, but history has shown that preferences change as young buyers begin entering the market.
In Nissan’s mind, the popularity of crossovers and SUVs will wane, opening the door for sedans to return to the picture.
That’s one of the reasons why the company invested heavily in the development of the Altima. It’s loaded on all fronts, including styling, architecture, performance, safety, and technology. You would think that Nissan would’ve had probably spent its money on safer bets, but it’s positioning itself to be at the forefront of the sedan market with the idea that when the crossover and SUV markets start cooling down, it will be there a loaded model like the Altima that can convince buyers to return to the segment. It’s a big gamble, sure, but it’s not a deadbeat hand by any stretch of the imagination.
Read our full review on the 2019 Nissan Altima.
Source: The Detroit Bureau