NEW YORK â€“ Laying claim to creating the first modern sports sedan,North America Inc.â€™s â€™09 Maxima looks to retake its title.
â€śThe 4-door sports car is back,â€ť Al Castignetti, general manager of NNAâ€™sDiv., says at the new Maximaâ€™s unveiling at the New York International Auto Show here.
After Nissan introduced the Maxima as the 4-door sports car, other auto makers followed with their versions, he says.
The auto maker puts Maxima back in contention with the SR version that offers performance features ranging from a 290-hp 3.5L V-6 engine to 19-in. wheels. It goes on sale this summer with two addition trim lines â€“ the S and SV.
The new Maxima features an aggressive stance and muscular-looking shoulders. That boldness comes, in part, from designers reducing the overall length and widening the front and rear wheel track.
â€śWe know our products need to appeal to buyers hearts and heads,â€ť Castignetti says. â€śItâ€™s a matter of taste,â€ť he tells Wardâ€™s, referring to consumers who want a sedan with an emotional punch. â€śThey are very loyal buyers.â€ť
The No.1 market for Maxima in the U.S. has always been the Northeast, he says. â€śSo this auto show is the place to launch this car.â€ť
Although the sedan segment is down, Castignetti expects â€™09 Maxima sales to increase compared with the vehicleâ€™s predecessor.