When was the last time you've seen a brand new Nissan Altima out on the road? If you said “rarely' or “never”, we're not surprised. With crossovers, SUVs, as well as pick-up trucks nowadays the preferred vehicle of choice, it seems like midsize sedans are slowly being phased out of the market.
Case in point, Nissan Philippines' very own midsize sedan. While we were researching for another story, we noticed that the Altima appears to have been quietly removed from the company's website. Curious, we asked a high ranking Nissan executive that wished anonymity if the Altima has indeed been discontinued for the Philippine market.
“Yes, we have discontinued the Altima. We discontinued around January 2018,” they said.
They also listed several factors that ultimately spelled the demise of the Altima. First is low customer demand. With the Altima not raking in sales, it's taking up inventory which could have been used for another model that has higher demand. Next is the shrinking segment.
There are only a few models that remain in the local market in the same class as the Altima: the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Mazda6, and Toyota Camry.
Last but not the least: the shift in customer preference. Some pundits credit major events like Typhoon Ondoy for the massive shift in customer preferences towards crossovers and SUVs; models that are in the same price range as midsize sedans.
Right now, Nissan's biggest mass-sellers are the Juke, Navara, Terra, and the NV350 Urvan. Even their C-segment fighter, the Sylphy, is experiencing low demand but they have no plans on discontinuing the compact sedan.
Other brands are also knocking off their passenger car models. Back in April 2018, Ford USA fully shifted in only making SUVs and pick-up trucks as it discontinued its passnger car range in America. This leaves the Mustang as the sole passenger car in the US.
Ford Philippines did a similar move as it discontinued both the Focus and the Fiesta in its lineup. Only the Mustang remains as Ford Philippines is now only selling the EcoSport, Ranger, Ranger Raptor, Everest, Explorer, Expedition, and the Transit.
With the Nissan Altima out of the picture, where does this leave the midsize sedan market? That remains to be seen as there are still customers that prefer a D-segment car, but there just isn't as many to justify models like the Altima. With the market continuing to lean towards light commercial vehicles (LCVs), we won't be surprised if the midsize car market continue to shrink even further.