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Nissan Mulls Altima Convertible

Nissan is looking to pry open niches using existing hardware, and the four-place convertible market might be next in the company's sights if it green-lights the idea of an Altima convertible. In creating the Altima coupe, Nissan studied markets into which it could expand its midsize sedan, examining segments such as station wagons before deciding that a coupe was the way to go.

nissan altimatoyota solaraMuch of the rationale that precipitated the coupe's development applies also to the idea of a convertible, and with the coupe already in place, most of the heavy lifting has been done. The question now is whether a drop-top Altima will be approved by Nissan's product planners. "Wouldn't that be great?" enthused Sean Blankenship, senior manager of Nissan marketing. "I'd love that."

Just as the company contemplated its options before building the coupe, Nissan is again considering possibilities. "We are studying a number of possible variants," Blankenship acknowledged.

In building the coupe, Nissan sought to give the company and the Altima family a halo car that would enhance consumers' perception of Nissan as a company with sporty products. With a body using entirely unique panels — except the hood, which is shared with the Altima sedan — and riding on a shortened platform, the coupe has the stance and lines of a "true coupe," which was Nissan's goal for the car. With that engineering work already done and the sheet metal created, a convertible is tantalizingly within reach.

In the segment, an Altima convertible would face many of the same competitors it is challenging in the coupe market. In fact, the company attributes the decline of the coupe market to customer fatigue with the aged products in the segment, and not to a decline in interest in coupes.

© Source: insideline
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