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Commodore vs Falcon vs… Altima?

Posted on 26 April 2012

The Australian motorsport landscape is set for a shake up with Japanese automotive giant Nissan announcing earlier this year plans to take on Aussie Falcons and Commodores with a full factory-backed effort, sponsoring V8 team Kelly Racing.

Nissan unveiled its all new Altima, the car that will form the basis of the Kelly Racing V8 Supercar, at the New York Motor Show in early April 2012. The car will replace the Maxima and will arrive in Australian showrooms in the second half of 2013.

The Altima was unveiled in New York by Nissan Motor Company CEO Carlos Ghosn, who was joined by Kelly Racing’s co-owner and driver Rick Kelly, as well as the team’s CEO John Crennan.

Kelly Racing will enter four Nissan Altimas in next year’s V8 Supercars Championship, reforming the Nissan Motorsport team in Australia. The Nissan Altima will actually debut on the race track before it goes on sale in Australia, as it will arrive in showrooms here in the second half of 2013.

The introduction of a Japanese manufacturer into the strictly Holden vs Ford V8 Supercars arena could have wider implications, including the increased adoption of Japanese cars within the Australian auto performance market.

In the US, the new Nissan Altima will be available from launch with two petrol engines: a 136kW/244Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder and a 201kW/350Nm 3.5-litre V6. Both engines are teamed with a brand-new X-Tronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), and the V6 model gets paddle shifters.

Nissan Australia’s General Manager of Sales and Fleet Ian Moreillon said that Nissan Australia is targeting an eight per cent share of the local medium segment – approximately 500-600 cars per month. That would potentially make the Altima the second most popular mid-sizer behind the Camry, which averages around 1400 sales per month.

Nissan Australia does still not know where our Altimas will be produced. The US is one possibility at the moment, while Japan and Thailand are also on the shortlist. Moreillon said the final decision on the car’s production source is unlikely to be made before the beginning of next year.

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