Nissan has begun production of its all-new Altima mid-size sedan at Smyrna, Tennessee – the fifth generation of the car to be built there.
The original Altima first rolled off the line in the same plant 20 years ago and more than 4.4 million more have been built since then, most of them in Smyrna. Some Altimas have also been built at Nissan's Canton, Mississippi plant since 2004.
The Altima is one of the best-selling vehicles in the United States, where mid-size cars claim a much larger market share than they do in Canada. Here, where compacts and sub-compacts reign, it's well down the best-seller list.
The company is confident the new model will fare well in comparison to the leading sellers in the class leaders that include the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord.
"This generation is not only the most innovative Altima ever, it also becomes the benchmark for quality in the mid-size car segment," said Bill Krueger, vice chairman, Nissan Americas. "And there's no better plant to rise to the challenge than our top-quality manufacturing operations in Smyrna."
The new Altima is the first of five all-new Nissan vehicles scheduled for release in the next 15 months.
Smyrna will be home to more "firsts" in the coming months, including production for the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle and the batteries that power it, the next-generation Nissan Pathfinder, and, in 2013, the next-generation Nissan Rogue.