The 4-Door Sports Car is back The first production model of the all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima today rolled off the assembly line at Nissan North America's Smyrna, Tenn., manufacturing plant, signalling the return of Nissan's flagship to its roots as a commanding 4-door sports car.

Sporting a bold new look, as well as a more powerful V6 under the bonnet, the "Job 1" 2009 Maxima was driven off the assembly line during a midday celebration attended by Nissan employees and executives.

"The Maxima is an important car for Smyrna and for Nissan," said Greg Daniels, senior vice president, U.S Manufacturing, Nissan North America. "It's our responsibility to build a high quality vehicle each and every time. Our customers deserve it and expect no less."

Changes were made in three key areas of the seventh generation Maxima. The exterior took on a more aggressive look that imparts a strong, premium presence.  A "super" cockpit feel was integrated creating an interior that combines a driver orientation with high quality, roominess and user-friendly technology. Class-leading performance was added that enhanced what previous generation owners called "Maxima-ness."

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"We set out to create one of the best performing front engine, front-wheel drive sedans in the world," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan division, Nissan North America. "The Maxima delivers on all levels offering the value, quality, and exhilarating performance consumers have come to expect from Nissan."

The 2009 Maxima is built on Nissan's new D platform that provides responsive handling and virtually eliminates the torque steer associated with high horsepower front-wheel drive vehicles.

It also boasts a new Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual mode, tuned specifically for Maxima's sporty driving character. For drivers seeking the utmost in vehicle control, a new "Ds mode" (drive sport) has been added to the CVT for 2009. "Ds mode" is an electronic control logic that enhances sport driving through increased acceleration feel with higher engine revolutions, automatic engine braking, and maintaining engine speed during cornering.

The Maxima's 3.5 litre DOHC 24-valve VQ series V6 engine is now rated at 290 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque, increases of 35 horsepower and 9 lb-ft of torque over the 2008 Maxima. All of the engines for the vehicle are produced at Nissan's Decherd, Tenn., Powertrain Assembly Plant

Fuel economy is estimated at 19 miles per gallon city, 26 miles per gallon highway, similar to that of the 2008 Maxima despite the additional horsepower.

The all-new 2009 Maxima will be offered as two well-equipped models, Maxima 3.5 S and Maxima 3.5 SV, and is scheduled to arrive at Nissan dealers nationwide in early summer 2008. Pricing will be released closer to start of sale.

The Maxima was first introduced to the U.S. market in 1981, essentially creating the mid-size import sport sedan category. Four out of five of all Maximas sold are on the road today.

"The Maxima represents Nissan's ongoing commitment to quality and long term durability," Daniels said. "The new generation Maxima will live up to its legacy."

In calendar year 2007, Nissan North America sold 52,574 Maximas. The vehicles are also exported to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Saipan. In fiscal year 2008, Nissan will export approximately 3,600 Maximas.

Since production of the Maxima moved to Smyrna from Japan on Jan. 21, 2003, the plant has produced 384,303 units as of May 15, 2008.

The Smyrna plant employs approximately 5,650 people and represents an investment of $2.1 billion. In addition to the Maxima, the plant produces the Nissan Altima mid-size sedan, Nissan Altima Hybrid sedan, Nissan Altima Coupe, Nissan Xterra SUV, Nissan Pathfinder SUV, and Nissan Frontier pick-up truck.