But NASA wasn’t the only one contributing inspiration to the new Altima design. According to Andy Palmer, Nissan executive vice-president, the Hyundai Sonata was referenced during the Altima design process. And while that’s not a huge surprise given how successful the Sonata has become in the mid-size segment, it’s certainly proof that Japanese automakers are now looking at Korean designs; something that has historically been the other way around.
According to Ward’s Auto, the midsize-sedan segment is the most competitive in the U.S. market having sold 781,487 vehicles in this year’s first quarter, an increase of 26.1 percent from last year. The Sonata, according to Palmer, was a “major point of reference.” Over 200,000 Sonatas were sold in the U.S. in 2011 and it was the seventh best selling 2012 model through March.
Now Nissan is eyeing the top prize with its new Altima, hoping to outsell the top dog Toyota Camry. This lends credence to how conservative the styling of the all-new Altima is compared to the Sonata. Currently the Altima is the number-2 best-selling midsize vehicle in the U.S.
[Source: Wards Auto]