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Nissan nearly killed the Maxima

Nissan\'s latest Maxima almost didn\'t happen.

Nissan's all-new Maxima sedan will soon arrive on dealer lots, but the eighth-generation of the four-door sports car was nearly squashed three years ago.

Although the Maxima is Nissan's longest-running nameplate here in the United States — having been in continuous production since 1981 — the fate of the large sedan was very much up in the air during the early part of 2012. At that time Nissan was focusing its resources on developing smaller cars with excellent fuel economy, leaving the large and sporty Maxima on the outside looking in.

"A lot of people assume it was a forgone conclusion that, of course we will continue with another Maxima," Pierre Loing, vice president of North American product planning for Nissan, told Automotive News. "But frankly, the forgone conclusion at that moment was that there would not be another Maxima."

Nissan ultimately saved the Maxima for its name recognition (Loing says the Maxima enjoys better name awareness than the Nissan brand itself) and its ability to keep Nissan buyers from jumping to premium brands like BMW and Acura.

It remains to be seen if Nissan's gamble on the new Maxima will pay off, but we should find out soon enough — the eighth-generation is scheduled to go on sale nationwide on June 2.

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