Nissan has announced its first entry into the hybrid gas-electric market with the 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid. Those keeping in touch understand that this is somewhat of a fickle adventure for Nissan as Carlos Ghosn has expressed his concern that Hybrid vehicles are not the answer to our many environment problems nor will it cure our dependency on oil.
And Nissan's uneasiness shows as a good number of patents have been derived from Toyota's stockpile for the build. The '07 Altima is a new design all-around and in my opinion Nissan needs a hybrid offering to keep up with the pack, but it seems that even they are unsure if it will be the right horse for the race.
Standard model Altimas go on sale in the U.S. late in '06 and the hybrid comes to select states first in early '07. Meat and potato's is a 2.5L gas/electric motor coupled with the CVT transmission which is now a popular option in many Nissan vehicles such as the Maxima, Sentra, Versa, and Murano among others. For you number crunchers out there, 198 is the number of ponys you can expect, and EPA rates are 41 in the city and 36 on the highway, respectively. It will be built in the Smyrna, TN. plant along side the Frontier pickup, Xterra SUV, and Maxima.
In the past the Altima has been a very reliable vehicle and the new models equipped with the 3.5L V-6 are practically land rockets but this new hybrid shows that Nissan is not as secure as one might think. I mean they are borrowing patents to build a hybrid, that means they haven't done any of there own research or development. Plus many other corporations have already come out with hybrid cars so this leaves Nissan somewhat left behind. If I had to guess I'd say that if the hybrid version doesn't do well, it will get the axe quick. On a lighter note, the standard Altima will most likely enjoy good sales as it has for some 20 years now.
Time will tell as in all things, and in the automotive business, you can never tell what the future holds.