The Altima Sacrifice
Nissan CEO not happy about making new hybrid Altima
Automaker Nissan is releasing its first hybrid model, a version of its Altima sedan, next year, but it doesn’t have to like it. In a speech at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said hybrids aren’t profitable enough to make economic sense for the company. “They make a nice story, but they’re not a good business story yet because the value is lower than their cost,” he said. So why make hybrids at all? Oh right, that global-warming thing. Ghosn told reporters after the speech that a primary reason for going ahead with the hybrid Altima is California’s impending greenhouse-gas emission standards for autos, intended to slow the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, seems no one told Toyota that hybrids weren’t profitable. In addition to leasing its hybrid technology to behind-the-curve companies like Nissan, Toyota plans this year to nearly double U.S. production of its popular Prius sedan to some 100,000 vehicles.