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2019 Nissan Altima sheds mass with higher-strength steel, has semi-autonomous ProPILOT

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Repair Operations | Technology
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Nissan said earlier this month it was able to cut about 11 percent of the 2019 Altima platform’s mass “due to greater use of high strength steel” in the next generation of the popular sedan.

“Overall vehicle weight is reduced by 18 pounds despite higher feature content,” spokesman Kyle Torrens wrote in an email July 17.

He didn’t reply further to our inquiry about the steel or aluminum within the 2019 Altima, which goes on sale this fall.

However, Nissan in June announced it would seek to have 25 percent of its vehicle parts weight derived from ultra-high-strength steel components of at least 980 megapascals, debuting a new high-formability 980 MPa steel on the 2019 QX50 on sale now. About 27 percent of that crossover is ultra-high-strength steel 980 MPa or more.

So repairers should keep an eye out for the possibility of more extensive high-strength steel — and the associated repair restrictions — in the 2019 Altima when the car comes out this fall. Nissan sold just a few Altimas shy of 255,000 last year.

Auto body technicians will also note the exterior design of the Altima, something Nissan touted in a March news release. The OEM sought a “linear, tailored look, with sharp horizontal lines emphasizing the lower, longer proportions,” according to Nissan. “The bodyside, for example, is dominated by one prominent crease that runs from headlamp through the entire car.”

“The Altima proportions gave us the freedom to create a body that’s simple and streamlined, with a strong horizontal movement. Unlike typical sedans, the surfaces and body panels are anything but boring, with shoulder twists and sharp sheet metal stampings capturing and reflecting colors and light,” Nissan global design Senior Vice President Alfonso Albaisa said in a statement.

Speaking of colors and light, painters should be aware that Nissan will offer the car in a spectrum that includes two “Altima-specific” hues. These will likely introduce additional complexity into the aftermarket paint booths.

“The Scarlet Ember premium color uses special tinting to add more depth and layering than regular paint surfaces,” Nissan wrote in a news release. “And, the one-of-a-kind Sunset Drift metallic orange has a color-shifting quality created by a special pigment shape. The way the paint reflects light as viewers move around the Altima gives the vehicle a unique dynamic energy.”

The other big news for body shops here is Nissan’s decision to make the semi-autonomous feature ProPILOT Assist available standard on the SV, SL and Platinum trims — three out of the car’s five grades. The car can steer itself and maintain a distance between the vehicle in front within a single lane, though the driver is still required to keep their hands on the wheels and pay attention. It’s Tesla’s Autopilot on one of the country’s most popular vehicles.

“It utilizes a forward-facing camera, forward-facing radar, sensors and an electronic control module to help the driver stay in the center of the driving lane and to maintain vehicle speed (set by the driver) or help maintain a gap to the preceding vehicle if the vehicle speed drops below the driver-set speed,” Nissan wrote in a press kit overview. “It also can slow the vehicle to a complete stop and hold the vehicle during traffic jam conditions.”

This means that repairers will need to adhere to the Nissan repair procedures related to scanning, recalibrating and preserving the function of those parts. Find out more here with Nissan’s position statements and OEM procedures website (which works best with Internet Explorer).

“Adding ProPILOT Assist to the 2019 Altima continues our approach of making the most advanced technologies available to the widest number of potential buyers, rather than saving the best for the most exclusive models,” Nissan Chief Performance Officer José Muñoz said in a statement. “This ‘democratization’ of advanced features also applies to Altima’s many other available safety and driving assistance technologies.”

Other ADAS systems include standard autobraking and driver alertness checks on all trims, and the three grades with ProPILOT Assist standard also come standard with rear autobraking.

Other items possibly of interest to repairers:

  • Options include “LED projector headlights with signature Daytime Running Lights” and LED foglights.
  • A “floating roof with slim pillars and single panel moonroof” are available.
  • “Along with the all-weather traction offered by the new (optional) all-wheel-drive system, all 2019 Altimas benefit from a range of enhanced suspension, steering and chassis control systems,” Nissan wrote in its press kit overview. “Key suspension changes include the first Altima application of monotube rear shocks, added suspension reinforcements to improve vehicle response without impacting harshness, and suspension geometry adjustments to improve steering feedback.”
  • “The 2019 Altima includes a new, advanced Integrated Dynamics Module (IDM). It includes three unique systems – Intelligent Ride Control, Intelligent Trace Control and Vehicle Dynamics Control – similar to those found on the flagship Nissan Maxima sedan.”

More information:

“2019 Altima – the new global face of Nissan sedan design”

Nissan, March 28, 2018

2019 Nissan Altima press kit overview

Nissan OEM1Stop position statement and repair procedures portal

Nissan collision repair procedures website (use Internet Explorer)


Nissan North America management committee Chairman and Senior Vice President Denis Le Vot, left, and for Nissan North America, left, and Nissan global design Senior Vice President Alfonso Albaisa post March 28, 2018, next to the 2019 Nissan Altima. (Provided by Nissan)

The 2019 Nissan Altima is shown. (Provided by Nissan)

A Nissan ProPILOT Assist graphic describes Nissan’s plans for the technology. (Provided by Nissan)

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