Nissan has already tipped its hand, revealing that it will introduce five new models over the next 15 months. Those five models include the Altima, Pathfinder, Sentra, Versa hatchback and Rogue. Of those, we’ve already spent some time with the Altima, and its improved performance, upscale interior and slightly larger dimensions once again had us wondering if there was still a need in Nissan’s portfolio for the pricier Maxima.

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Apparently, there is. Despite the Max sharing the Altima’s basic platform and powertrains for some time now, Nissan says its most expensive sedan is viewed differently by consumers. Officials we spoke with at the Altima’s launch in Tennessee this week noted that the company sold about 59,000 examples last year, of which some 51,000 went to actual retail customers. For those keeping track of such things, Nissan says that actually makes Maxima America’s top retailing non-luxury V6 sedan, Number One in a catch-all segment that includes everything from the Buick LaCrosse to the Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, Toyota Avalon and Volkswagen CC (not to mention six-cylinder versions of cars like the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Hyundai Genesis). The current Maxima has been on sale since 2008 and received a very minor facelift for 2012.
Full story: Autoblog