Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

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Thread: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

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    Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    By Christine Tierney / The Detroit News


    How far is too far? It's a delicate balancing act for Nissan Motor Co. With its bold styling, Nissan has dispelled the stereotype that Japanese vehicles come through on reliability but fall short on excitement.

    Its Infiniti G35 coupe and the Nissan 350Z sports car are hot.

    But sometimes -- and the radical Quest minivan is an obvious case -- Nissan has gone too far. U.S. consumers stuck with more conservative alternatives from Chrysler, Dodge, Toyota and Honda, and the Quest never came close to meeting its targets.

    Nissan plans substantial changes, such as improving the instrument panel layout, as part of a mid-cycle facelift. Its executives also sent the new Sentra back for design changes, delaying the launch after concluding that the car didn't look right.

    Nissan isn't dialing down its styling approach, says Shiro Nakamura, the automaker's chief designer for the past six years.

    But it is refining it, focusing on improving interiors and curtailing quantum-leap innovations in segments that are conservative by nature, such as minivans and sports cars.

    "You can't go too far beyond people's expectations," says Nakamura. "The 350Z is very modern, but it maintains authentic sports car proportions. Sedans have been around for a long time, so we have to go carefully.

    "SUVs and crossovers are where the market accepts the most radical changes, because there is no classic design" in these vehicles, he said.

    "We don't want to take risks, but we don't want to be conservative" either, he said.

    Nissan has reworked the Sentra, adjusting the size and shape of the windows, to improve the proportions. But the car will look quite fresh, compared with its rivals, he says.

    Now Nissan is adapting a compact it sells in Japan for a new entry-level car for the U.S. market below the Sentra.

    Nissan is adjusting the styling, especially around the wheels, to give the compact a more dynamic stance to help it compete in a market dominated by large vehicles. "Here, a small car really looks small," Nakamura said. There's also room to innovate because the compact segment has not been fully exploited in the U.S. market.

    Like BMW, Nissan wants to be on the cutting-edge of design, even at the risk of shocking some potential car buyers.

    Overall, that strategy has served Nissan well. In the past two years, its sales have grown sharply in the U.S. market, outpacing those of rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

    In a J.D. Power and Associates survey of mid-size car buyers, more than a fourth of Nissan Altima's buyers chose the car because of its dynamic styling, as opposed to fewer than 5 percent who bought the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord for their design attributes. "Clearly the Altima is the styling winner," said Chris Denove, a partner at J.D. Power.

    "A smaller brand can afford a polarizing design. It's OK to get one person to say, I'd never own a car like that as long as you get someone who would walk on hot coals to own a car like that."

    http://www.detnews.com/2005/insiders...C01-252521.htm

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    Just fix the Titan/Armada/QX56 front end will yah! UGLY as sin. Homely too.

    The Maxiiima is hideously hooptie as well. What were they thinking?

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    I'd much rather see the Altima be #1 in sales instead of the Camry. It's got power, looks, verve, and some nice features. The Camry is the ultimate bloat-mobile-soft suspension, lazy handling, bland as butter interior, and less than thrilling drivetrains. It upsets me, as an American, that my fellow country-people keep making it the best seller. They could be doing better for themselves.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    Quote Originally Posted by Buick61
    I'd much rather see the Altima be #1 in sales instead of the Camry. It's got power, looks, verve, and some nice features. The Camry is the ultimate bloat-mobile-soft suspension, lazy handling, bland as butter interior, and less than thrilling drivetrains. It upsets me, as an American, that my fellow country-people keep making it the best seller. They could be doing better for themselves.
    The Altima has been making it's way up the top 20 vehicles sales list. I think it's #7 now (slightly behind Civic and Accord) If they keep selling as well as they have, the Altima may overtake them. I see loads more 2005 Altimas than 2005 Accords and Camrys put together here.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    I'd rather see the Altima do better than the Accord (Accord sales are going into the toilet, so it may happen), because I'm getting even more sick of Honda by the day. Has anyone seen the commercial with the Civic, and cars from other manufacturers driving down the road, and the other cars have money flying away from them, and Honda was touting their resale value? That made me SICK.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    I love Nissan's cars? Infiniti's are ugly but Nissan trucks I think are the best looking 'family' today. The Maxima has a nice shape but ugly front, the Senta sucks, but the Altima is really sweet looking. Am I alone here lol?

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    Quote Originally Posted by surferdude00711
    I love Nissan's cars? Infiniti's are ugly but Nissan trucks I think are the best looking 'family' today. The Maxima has a nice shape but ugly front, the Senta sucks, but the Altima is really sweet looking. Am I alone here lol?
    I like the Altima, but I don't like the Sentra, their SUV's, the Quest and I prefer the previous generation Maxima to the current model.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    Quote Originally Posted by surferdude00711
    I love Nissan's cars? Infiniti's are ugly but Nissan trucks I think are the best looking 'family' today. The Maxima has a nice shape but ugly front, the Senta sucks, but the Altima is really sweet looking. Am I alone here lol?
    Nope. I like most Nissans. I don't like the Armada or the Quest.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    The Nissans I have some reservations about:

    Sentra - Overdue to be replaced, interior outclassed by many competitors

    Quest - I don't mind the exterior (maybe lose the "tooth") but IMO the dash could be toned down a bit (dash area)

    Z Roadster - Doesn't look great with the top up

    Everything else is great, IMO.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    Nissans are good but they are ugly enough where I would be hesitant to buy one.

    I saw a Nissan Quest the other day. It makes the Pontiac Aztec look like a masterpiece.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    The QX56 is probably the model that needs to be changed the most. Add a more aggressive style and a DIFFERENT interior. Plus, what is going on with the hump in the roof that makes the side profile look jagged? The Armada obviously has the same problem, but atleast the front end and alloy wheel choices are stylish.

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    Re: Nissan refines styling approach in midcycle face-lift

    Quote Originally Posted by plane
    I'm not going to say a word.

    ^
    Old school hotness!





    The read end on their Z concept wasn't great but otherwise it looked like a nice successor.

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