Nissan to launch production of redesigned Maxima sedan

SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) – Nissan has launched production the redesigned Maxima sedan at a ceremony at the Japanese automaker’s sprawling Tennessee plant.

While Nissan refers to the Maxima as its flagship, sales of large sedans have been struggling in recent years.

They’ve been squeezed at one end by midsized cars that have become larger and more luxurious and on the other end by the increasing popularity of small SUVs.

According to Autodata Corp., Maxima sales dropped 6.5 percent last year, even as overall industry sales rose 6 percent.

Nissan has sold fewer than 60,000 Maximas annually since the year after the sedan was last redesigned in 2009. By contrast, it sold more than 335,000 midsized Altimas and nearly 200,000 Rogue SUVs last year.

Nissan’s Smyrna plant built 648,000 vehicles last year.