NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Nissan Motor Co. may be working on a more aggressive-looking Maxima sedan with a sportier tapered rear roofline and new front-end design and headlight treatment, judging from the company's brief display of concept car sketches to reporters last week.
Nissan global design chief Shiro Nakamura showed the sketches to an audience of international media gathered here to see Nissan's world portfolio. He described the car only as a four-door sedan concept that has what will become a signature "V-motion" front-end design and headlight treatment for the brand. Nakamura said the concept car will be shown in January at the Detroit auto show.
He would not confirm that the concept car drawings are the plan for the redesigned Maxima, due next year as a 2015 model.
The Maxima has had some questions hanging over it for the past couple of years as Nissan lavished attention on redesigning its smaller and less expensive sedans, the Altima, Sentra and Versa.
The Maxima, the largest and most expensive of Nissan's cars, is out of step with the redesigned portfolio, lacking the other sedans' new technologies and fuel economy gains. Some have speculated that the increased size and marketing emphasis on the redesigned Altima positioned Nissan to phase out the Maxima.
The concept design indicates that Nissan remains committed to a larger sedan for the brand.
This year through July, Nissan sold 27,710 Maximas, down from 35,222 in the first seven months of 2012. The 2013 Maxima had a base price of $31,790, including shipping, about $9,000 more than the large-volume Altima base model.