The Nissan Maxima joins the growing list of sedans driving off into the automotive sunset, Nissan spokesperson Dan Passe confirmed Thursday.
"The current-generation Maxima will end production in the middle of 2023," Passe said when contacted by The Car Connection for comment.
For decades, the Maxima has served as Nissan's flagship vehicle, positioned as larger, sportier, and more luxurious than the more mainstream Altima mid-size sedan. Launched in the early 1980s as a Datsun Maxima, Nissan carried the mid-size sedan through eight generations, with the last redesign debuting for the 2016 model year.
That redesign, powered by a 300-hp 3.5-liter V-6, breathed new life into the flagship, but its CVT and front-wheel-drive layout kept it closer to the Altima than the Infiniti Q70. The identity crisis grew as the Altima grew to similar proportions as the Maxima and the market turned to crossover SUVs.
In 2021, U.S. sales of the Maxima dipped to their lowest in the car's 40-year history, to just 16,386 units. That was about a quarter of the sales the Maxima had been averaging this century. Meanwhile, Nissan sold more than 103,000 Altimas in 2021. Shoppers weren't hungry enough for both sedans, and Nissan refreshed the Altima for the 2023 model year.
The Maxima will join so many other sedans discontinued recently, including other retired flagships such as the Kia K900 and Toyota Avalon, as well as the Kia Cadenza, Mazda 6, and Volkswagen Passat, which were all discontinued this year.
Nissan left open the possibility that the Maxima could return as part of the brand's shift to electric vehicles. Including the Nissan Leaf hatchback and Nissan Ariya crossover SUV, Nissan plans 15 electric vehicles by 2030 across its core Nissan brand and its premium brand, Infiniti. It has set a target of 40% of sales to come from EVs by 2030. The Maxima could be part of it.
"The company is prioritizing electric vehicles and advanced technologies," Passe said. "Stay tuned for future Nissan Maxima news as we empower journeys through exciting vehicles and tech innovation."