NASHVILLE — When the redesigned 2016 Nissan Maxima sport sedan goes on sale this summer, it will come in five trim packages — “and zero options,” says Fred Diaz, vice president for U.S. sales and marketing and operations.
The strategy is to make more features common across the trim levels but pare down the number of variations in distribution. That will increase the odds that customers will find the Maxima configuration they want on a retailer’s lot, Diaz says.
“We just need to simplify things,” Diaz says. “It’s part of our ‘right car, right place, right time’ proposition. Part of that is being able to not produce so many variations of every single thing we build.”
Nissan believes it can boost brand sales by doing a better job of anticipating shopper preferences and having the most popular local trim packages of each vehicle at dealerships around the country.
The new Maxima, with a base price of $33,325, including shipping, will come in S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum trims, with each car containing the same equipment as every other car in its grade.
The secret to the strategy, Diaz says, will be to offer generous content at each Maxima level, as follows:
- The base S trim includes an 8-inch display screen with Google online search functions, paired with a 7-inch instrument cluster display, remote engine start and dual-zone temperature control.
- The SV adds leather-appointed seating, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors and heated outside rearview mirrors.
- The SL adds a dual-panel moonroof and a suite of Nissan safety products, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Forward Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Warning.
- The SR is a sport-tuned suspension version, with a front chassis performance damper, leather-appointed seats and steering wheel, paddle shifters, chrome interior finishes and aluminum sport pedals.
- The Platinum top grade additionally includes a rear window power sunshade, driver’s-side memory seat and mirrors, rain detecting windshield wipers and an auto-dimming driver’s-side outside mirror, among other features.
Nissan intends to extend the no-option concept to other models wherever possible, although limiting options is more difficult on high-volume models, Diaz says. In 2014, Altima sedan sales topped 335,000 units. Maxima sales totaled 50,401, although Nissan expects the redesigned model to do better.
Too many variations make it complicated for customers, salespeople, dealers who have to order and Nissan, which has to know what’s available for dealers, Diaz says. “I think it’s going to prove to be a game-changing direction for us.”