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Altima Hybrid Axed From Nissan’s 2012 Lineup


2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

Looking at the 2012 product lineup from Nissan, there’s one not-so-glaring omission: There’s no Altima Hybrid in the 2012 Altima product mix. There isn’t even a mention of it in the automaker’s revelation of its 2012 changes. The 2012 Altima coupe and sedan models, however, which are mostly carryover, are on sale now.

Sales-wise, the Altima Hybrid hasn’t exactly been a chart-buster, selling only about 35,000 in total since its 2007 introduction.

The departure of Nissan’s only gasoline-electric hybrid model may, however, be part of the Japanese automaker’s plans, a house-cleaning of sorts, making room for new Nissan hybrids to come.

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

In fact, as reported in Automotive News, even though Nissan is putting a heavy focus on electric vehicles at present, specifically the all-electric Nissan Leaf introduced in early 2011, company product spokesman John Schilling said the company does plan to move into “other power technologies for the future, including hybrid.”

2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

Enlarge Photo

Out with the old, in with the new – and here’s why. The current Nissan Altima Hybrid utilizes a hybrid drive system developed and supplied by Toyota. Since the Altima Hybrid’s introduction, Nissan has developed its own hybrid-drive system in-house, using lithium-ion technology. The first product to use this new system is the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid which was recently introduced to the U.S. market.

With Nissan building a new lithium-ion battery plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, lithium-ion battery production capacity will be 50,000 more than that required for the Leaf. The plant reportedly has a capacity to build 200,000 of the advanced batteries a year. Nissan previously announced it plans to assemble the Leaf in Smyrna beginning in late 2012.

So, while the nearly-departed Nissan Altima Hybrid may be missed by some, it won’t be for long. Count on Nissan to make use of its new hybrid system in the new M hybrid and “cascade it through where it makes sense,” according to Mark Perry, director of product planning at Nissan North America.

[Automotive News]

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