But is Nissan fighting a losing battle?
Earlier this year, Nissan revealed the all-new 2019 Altima sedan, which was a huge improvement over the 2018 car. The big headline was the introduction of the 2.0-liter variable-compression turbocharged four-cylinder that was first seen on the Infiniti QX50. Output is rated at 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, and although it has yet to be announced, fuel economy should be pretty good as well. Nissan seems fairly confident with the new Altima, and will now invest a large amount of money in order to build it.
The Japanese automaker recently announced a $170 million investment to upgrade its US assembly plants in Smyrna, Tennessee, and Canton, Mississippi, in order to build the 2019 Altima. This latest round of investment brings Nissan's total spending on its US production facilities to $12 billion - someone should probably tell the president about that.
The $170 million investment will fund laser brazing systems in the body shop to weld the trunk lid, updated paint shops with a new polyurethane stone guard coat paint system, and calibration equipment to ensure the reliability of Nissan's ProPILOT Assist technology.
The only issue here is whether or not Nissan's efforts are worth it in the long run, considering that sedans like the Altima are losing out to crossovers and SUVs. Nissan still sold 254,996 units of the Altima in 2017, even though it was an outdated model. The Altima was once Nissan's best seller but has since been dethroned by the Rogue SUV, which sold 403,465 units in 2017. Nissan's Smyrna plant also produces the Leaf, Maxima, Pathfinder, Rogue and Infiniti QX60, so perhaps some of this investment will be used on the company's more popular SUV models.