Sport sedan fans, prepare to pour one out for a real one. Car and Driver has confirmed with Nissan that the Maxima will end production next year.
Low sales are to blame, which shouldn’t be surprising as sedan sales have been down for a while now. I bet if Nissan slapped the Maxima name on some crossover things would be different. (Also, please don’t do that Nissan.) Anyway, few people has been buying the Maxima. From April to June of this year (second quarter) just 884 Maxima’s found buyers in the U.S. with just 3,753 sold so far. And while you could blame a sedan sales slump (and probably a parts shortage, too), those same forces don’t seem to be stopping anything with the Altima. Just over 40,000 Altimas were sold in the same period.
Not all is lost though. The rep that confirmed the Maxima’s death mentioned Nissan prioritizing EVs and said “stay tuned for future Nissan Maxima news.” This could mean that Nissan is planning to use the long-running nameplate on a future EV sedan.
Whatever the future holds for the Maxima, it’s sad to see it go. The Maxima used to be a sport sedan favorite. It had its ups and downs over the years. For a brief period, Infiniti was doing the four door sports car thing better than the Maxima. But the last 10-12 years saw a generation of Maxima that really lost its way. The current gen, which debuted in 2016 is OK, mainly from a styling standpoint. But it’s still mostly a Toyota Avalon fighter.
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Nissan once took risks with the Maxima. The sixth-gen, and one of my favorite Maximas, was introduced in 2004, and came to market with what my colleague Andy Kalmowitz described as a “mohawk sunroof.” It also had a four-seat configuration and was one of the few cars in the early 2000s you could get with an orange interior. Even the second generation Maxima, which shared its V6 engine with the Z, was something special. Hopefully, if the nameplate returns, Nissan takes those kinds of risks again.