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Hyundai Sonata influenced the development of the 2013 Nissan Altima

By SYF77 on 02 May 2012

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There are certain events that will change the landscape of the automobile industry. Although most carmakers do not admit it, the launch of the Hyundai Sonata three years ago was one such event. It takes a lot of “sportsmanship” to say that your competitor is good. Nissan executive vice president for global planning, Andy Palmer, is one such person.

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“Clearly, we referenced the Sonata when we were going through the design process,” said Mr Palmer in an interview with WardsAuto. Nissan even briefly halted the design work on the 2012 Altima just to make sure that the proportions were right and the product overall was right.

Hyundai, as well as sister-brand Kia, at one time emulated more staid Japanese brands until both Korean auto makers embraced a less-restrained design language three years ago. Hyundai sold more than 200,000 Sonatas in the U.S. in 2011 for the first time in a calendar year. However, the Sonata still is selling less than 300,000 plus units typically enjoyed by the conservatively styled Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

This shows that the American buyers may not be ready for a radically-designed midsize sedan. Since the mission of the new Altima is to overtake the Camry as the number 1 seller in the US, it is not as aggressively styled as the Sonata. However, I guess the taste of the American buyers are certainly evolving.

Nissan is wise enough to take note of the rise of the Koreans and shaped their product accordingly. It seems that Toyota and Honda are still deep in their slumber. How about Mazda? I believe they have got their arsenal ready for the Koreans with the upcoming Takeri-inspired Mazda 6.

Nissan Altima

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Mazda Takeri concept

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Written by SYF77
I have been a car fanatic since 1989, when my father was changing our family car then to a Toyota Corolla 1.6 GL fitted with a Twin Cam 16 valve engine that was carburetor-fed, a big deal back in those days. The automobile technology and industry fascinates me and I hope to broadcast these interesting developments to everyone out there through this blog.

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