Good morning. It's great to be here in New York for the world debut of the all-new, reborn Nissan Maxima.
Nissan's flagship sedan is about thrilling design... class-leading performance... and a crafted, driver-focused interior.
Maxima has an unmatched heritage in its class, beginning with its transformation in the late '80s from a typical mid-sized sedan into an exciting, affordable sports sedan -- "The 4-Door Sports Car."
Those 1990s Maximas were unique in both appearance and driving feel.
There were simply no other performance sedans that even came close for the price.
Stylish, sporty and reliable... you can still find four out of five of them on the road today.
But in this business, success brings imitators, and our competitors brought out sports sedans of their own, trying to beat Maxima at its own game. Well, starting today, the original 4-Door Sports Car is back.
In creating the 2009 Maxima, the design team focused on the basics of a sports sedan... combining a more emotional appearance with better performance.
This new Maxima has a slightly shorter wheelbase but a wider body and track than its predecessor...which, along with its coupe-like rear fenders, gives Maxima its bold, aggressive look and stance.
The 2009 Maxima has been refined to provide a ride and handling that is both stimulating and relaxing.
Like the GT-R, Maxima chassis development was conducted, in part, at the famed Nurburgring circuit.
It helped us create in Maxima what we believe will be one of the best performing front-wheel drive sedans in the world -- if not the best.
Some of the components behind Maxima's addictive performance include a refined 290-horsepower V6 and a revised, three-mode Xtronic CVT that takes our smooth, responsive CVT to an all-new level of performance.
The new Maxima also offers available paddle shifters and 19-inch wheels and tires.
The new Maxima is expected to achieve similar fuel economy as the 2008 Maxima, despite the 35 additional horsepower.
Inside, Maxima's new cockpit-style interior offers high quality and craftsmanship, along with high comfort.
Maxima features a long list of available amenities and technology, including premium leather-appointed seats and a real-time traffic navigation system with iPod integration.
The 2009 Maxima arrives early this summer and will offer the value and affordability you expect from Nissan... providing flagship quality and exhilarating performance at all trim levels.
Ladies and gentlemen... the 4-door sports car is back.
As vehicles like Maxima show, today success is all about the product... the right models and features... good value... and high QDR.
At Nissan, we know that our vehicles have to appeal to both our buyers' hearts and heads.
We're very proud of the fact that a leading consumer magazine recently selected Altima as its top-rated mid-priced sedan.
That's a big quality endorsement and one reason why Altima has been performing so well in the segment this year.
The new Rogue crossover is off to a great start since its introduction last fall. In fact, Rogue has been the fastest turning small crossover since launch.
The new 2009 Murano, which went on sale in January, priced $1,500 less than its predecessor... really is the right product at the right time and the right price. By the way, Murano was just named an IIHS "Top Safety Pick."
We recently began taking pre-orders for the GT-R. As of this week... we have confirmed orders for over 50% of our first year's production in-hand. Initial deliveries of GT-R are scheduled to begin in July.
Looking ahead, we have more innovative, high value, high quality products in the pipeline.
Nissan is deeply committed to delivering vehicles that meet customers' needs, embrace our shared passion for fun-to-drive and, importantly, respect the environment.
As part of the Nissan Green Program 2010, we are pursuing a portfolio of green technologies, including hybrid, fuel cells and clean diesels.
We are also committed to the development of a new generation of electric vehicles... vehicles that embody reliability, zero emissions and affordability.
Nissan first had an electric vehicle on the road in 1947, and we have been field-testing lithium-ion batteries for more than a decade, so our EV credentials are very strong.
Looking ahead, we're planning to have electric vehicles in fleet use in the U.S. and Japan in 2010. Commercially available EVs will be offered in the U.S. two years after that.
This exploratory "Denki Cube Concept" is built on the current Japan-market Cube... but has been modified with battery power replacing the usual gasoline engine. It also offers unique exterior and interior treatments.
I'm pleased to announce today that an all-new, next-generation Cube will be coming to North America in 2009.
We expect the new Cube to be an ideal match for young buyers seeking a fun, entry-level car that leaves them with enough money left to personalize it.
To give you an idea of what we mean, I invite you to visit the display area just outside the South Hall where we have two Cubes modified by students from New York's Pratt Institute Design School... along with a short video created by film students from the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California.
Cube is a car that makes sense for anyone looking for high fuel economy, low operating costs and exceptional space efficiency. The new gasoline-powered Cube makes its U.S. debut at the L.A. Auto Show later this fall.
With the upcoming Cube and GT-R, Nissan now covers the entire automotive spectrum... from entry-level to supercar.
All of our vehicles, including the new Maxima, share Nissan's passion for driving excitement, breakthrough design, innovative technology and exceptional safety, quality and reliability.
This year Nissan is celebrating its 50th anniversary of selling cars and trucks in the United States and 25 years of manufacturing them here.
And in July, we will open the doors on our new Nissan Americas headquarters in Tennessee.
It has been quite a ride so far. We look forward to the next 50 years. Thank you.