BySteph Willemson March 9, 2020
North of the border, the Altima is a very different beast. It’s only available with all-wheel-drive â€” even the lowly S â€” and the newly direct injected 2.5-liter base four is the only engine on offer. That serves to push the model’s entry price northward; a 2020 Altima S currently goes for $30,040 after destination and fees.
The current-gen Altima’s revamp and infusion of both technology and capability allowed Nissan’s midsize sedan to pull off a near-miraculous feat: it arrested the model’s sales decline in the United States. After peaking in 2014, the Altima saw consecutive yearly volume losses. Until 2019, that is. The the new model fully online, sales stabilized, with 2019 showing an extra 37 units on the sales ledger.
In Canada, with choice eliminated, not added, the opposite happened. Go figure! The model’s sales slide accelerated, with volume falling 35.8 percent (it isn’t known to what degree Nissan’s efforts to reduce fleet volume played a role). A year earlier, at the tail end of 2018, Altima sales had fallen 21.4 percent and 18 per cent in Canada and the U.S., respectively â€” a fairly similar decline.
Fast-forward to today and Canadian sales over the first two months of 2020 show no sign of renewed demand for the model; year-to-date sales in February were down 44.2 percent. The Altima finds itself outsold by the electric Leaf nearly 2 to 1.
Sometimes, increasing choice has a positive effect on a product’s popularity, though the new-for-2019 Mazda 3 is proof thatthis is not a hard and fast rule. While Altima sales in Canada are indeed down, the automaker is saving money through its pared-down build configurations. Meanwhile, the addition of standard AWD is almost certainly helping the model’s margin. Rapidly sinking sales numbers, however, are not a good omen for a model’s long-term survival.