Nissan Recalls 140,582 Altimas Because Air Filter May Ignite

By: RyanThomas

Nissan Motor Co. is recalling 140,582 of its Altima cars for the model year 2007 because the air filter can catch fire if a hot object is drawn into it, the Japanese automaker said.

The recall of the automaker's best-selling car in the United States affects Altima cars with a 2.5-liter, four- cylinder engine. This fact was reported to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before the automaker began notifying owners July 3. The automaker added four fires were reported in February and March.

The filter will be replaced because it can ignite if something hot such as cigarette ash enters through the vehicle's fresh-air intake valve, Nissan said. An air deflector also will be installed to prevent a buildup of debris at the filter.

The Altima accounted for 140,253, or 26 percent, of Nissan's U.S. sales this year through June. The model was ninth in sales among all cars and light trucks in the U.S. during the period.

The recall affects Altimas built from Sept. 25 through May 11 at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee plant; and from Oct. 30 through May 11 at its Canton, Mississippi, facility, the Japanese automaker told the federal safety agency. The vehicles are under warranty, the automaker added.

Tony Pearson, a spokesman for Nissan's Nashville, Tennessee-based U.S. unit, declined to say how much the recall will cost the automaker. The Japanese automaker expects to notify all owners by Oct. 1, he said in an interview.

The fourth generation Altima was launched at the New York Auto Show on April 12, 2006. It is the first product line to use the smaller Nissan D platform, with a new front and upgraded rear suspension. The wheelbase is one inch shorter than the third generation Altima, but interior space is mostly unchanged. The Maxima and Murano will continue on the bigger FF-L platform.

The present generation Altima sports improved auto parts , comfy accessories, and cutting-edge technology. It uses revised versions of the engines in the third generation model. The VQ35DE 3.5 L V6 engine produces 270 hp, and the QR25DE 2.5 L I4 generates 175 hp. A 6-speed manual is standard, and a continuously variable transmission replaces the traditional automatic as the optional transmission.

The Altima is the first product based on the new Nissan D platform, co-developed with Renault. The 2007 Altima also is equipped with advanced innovations in the market including the Bluetooth capability for cell phones, a standard 'push-button start" also called 'Renault Card," and a parking camera. The current Altima is backed by the television commercial slogan which says: 'Yup, it's that good!'

The 2008 Altima coupe was released on May 25, 2007. It is designed to rival Honda Accord, Pontiac G6, and Toyota Camry Solara, The 2008 Altima Coupe, unveiled at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, is Nissan's first-ever two-door Altima. It has a shorter wheelbase and overall length as well as lower height than its sedan counterpart.

The 2008 Altima Coupe is available with two engines: the VQ35DE in the sedan, a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 or the QR25DE, a 175 hp 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder. The 4-cylinder version of the coupe has a base price of $20,490, while the 3.5-liter V6 will has a base price of $24,890.

For the model year 2007, Nissan entered an agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. to use some of its hybrid technology in the new Altima. The hybrid version of Altima, Nissan's first hybrid car, features the QR25DE engine, CVT and electric motor. The automaker said the subsequent hybrid models will be based on in-house hybrid technology.

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