Nissan Saying Goodbye to Maxima, but Signs Point to a Relaunch Soon

Nissan confirmed to Newsweek this week that it will be ending production of the Maxima large car in mid-2023, following the 2023 model year.

Though the current internal combustion engine version of the model is leaving showrooms, the name could make a return on the automaker's new electric vehicle, slated for arrival in the coming years.

The eighth-generation Maxima arrived to much fanfare in 2016. Its aesthetics earned instant praise and its luxe interior continued to improve as the model aged thanks to numerous upgrades along the way.

During the eighth generation's near-decade run on the market, large car sales have taken a plunge, due in large part to the growing popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

The large car market hit its decade high in 2013 when just over 590,000 of the models were sold to U.S. customers. Future-oriented automotive marketing research and product-consulting firm AutoPacific projects that the segment will have just 113,000 sales in 2023, down from the 115,000 they project for 2022.

Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition
Nissan celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Maxima sedan with a special 40th Anniversary Edition this year. Nissan North America

"Mass market large cars have for years been the domain of older and more conservative consumers," Ed Kim, president and chief analyst at AutoPacific told Newsweek. "With most of the customer base now retired and on fixed incomes (or no longer driving at all), the market for these large cars has shriveled to a mere echo of their former sales volumes. In addition, many older drivers have since found that crossover models are easier to get in and out of and provide greater driver visibility, further hastening the demise of the large car segment."

In the future, the Maxima name could see a revival. Nissan plans to introduce an electric car to the market, with production slated for its Canton, Mississippi plant. The automaker teased the model earlier this year, offering a glimpse at the future car's body style.

Nissan is investing $500 million to transform the Canton assembly plant for the venture, which will see the new Nissan manufactured alongside a new, electric Infiniti. The cars are expected to begin rolling off the line in 2025.

2016 Nissan Maxima plant production
The eighth-generation Nissan Maxima is produced on an assembly line in 2016. Nissan North America

As part of the investment, the automaker will retrain and upskill nearly 2,000 workers.

Nissan Motor Corporation, the parent company of the Nissan and Infiniti brands, has targeted sales of 40 percent fully electric vehicles for the U.S. market by 2030. The timeline is part of a larger Nissan Ambition 2030 plan that calls for 23 electrified models for the two brands to be sold globally, including 15 all-electric models, by 2030.

"The Maxima story, dropping as an internal combustion engine car but potentially seeing the name return on EV, is a clear reflection of the transition that the auto industry is looking to make," Stephanie Brinley a principal analyst at S&P Global.

"The Maxima was once a very relevant and respected sedan; though it has aged and the sedan market overall has declined to the degree Nissan has opted to drop this version. If well executed, Nissan could leverage the history of the Maxima name and recast it in a modern context. Regardless of its name Nissan's upcoming EV sedan must earn its way to success and relevancy through being a competitive EV with a compelling design."

In the nearer future, Nissan is expected to reveal refreshed Versa and Sentra sedans in the coming months, on the heels of giving its Altima sedan a facelift for the 2023 model year.