2014 Nissan Murano and Maxima to be Drastic, "Shocking" Departures, Says Design Chief

By Jacob Brown | September 25, 2012
When the Nissan Murano debuted in 2002, it was seen as radical, if not somewhat Predator-esque in its so-ugly-it's-cool factor. The model that followed it only amplified that, adding a convertible variant for no other reason but to solidify its weirdness. All that seemed to work, as Nissan moved more than 50,000 of the midsize crossovers in 2011 and is on track to beat that in 2012 through August. Now Nissan's chief designer Shiro Nakamura wants to up the automaker's gawk factor, as the buying public has become used to its design as conventional. "We'd like to make another shock," says Nakamura of the 2014 Murano in an interview with Automotive News, adding that "The new Murano will be very different. The third generation must be very strong." Likely a sign of things to come, Nissan just introduced a concept crossover for this week's Paris Motor Show called the TeRRA (shown above) that we speculated could lead the design for the next compact crossovers from the automaker. Now, it looks like it could signal the way for the Murano. While on topic of future vehicles, Nakamura also said the 2014 Nissan Maxima would be getting an extensive reboot in its next iteration. ""The next Maxima will have to go even further in its design," he said. "The market is becoming very competitive in that segment. The next Maxima will be very aggressive." Once hailed as the "Four-door sports car," the Nissan Maxima has grown into a full-size sedan that's more a plush cruiser than an all-out sporty sedan. While borrowing some design elements from the Nissan 370Z sports car, the Maxima has largely fallen by the wayside as it's aged, and competition like the Chrysler 300C and Ford Taurus have gotten stronger. Nissan has made a point in its long-term strategy to become one of the world's largest automakers through its "Power 88" plan, making cars that appeal to a wider audience while aggressively ramping up production. If Nissan wants to achieve its goals, we're sure of one thing that the automaker seems all-to-conscious of: It can't get by anymore with making wallflowers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)