It’s been around three weeks since Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant produced its first 2013 Nissan Altima, but the mid-size sedan hit another benchmark yesterday when the first unit rolled off the production line in Canton, Mississippi.
While Nissan’s Smyrna plant gets much of the press–it makes 550,000 cars a year and will soon be tapped to produce the Nissan Leaf–Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi plant isn’t far behind, with a yearly production capacity of 400,000. Altima production has classically been split between the two plants, which makes sense considering the car sold about 269,000 units last year.
With production up and running at both of the 2013 Altima’s plants, it’s only a matter of time before the car will arrive in dealerships. Nissan says that shipping begins this week, and the car will go on sale by the end of the month at a starting price of $22,280, including $780 destination charge.
With the news of the start of production also comes more news about the car: Nissan says that the EPA has finally finished testing the car, and that the 2013 Altima will get the economy numbers that were initially promised. At 27 mpg city / 31 mpg combined / 38 mpg highway, the Altima I-4 is now officially the most fuel efficient non-hybrid mid-size sedan on the market. The V-6-trim-level Nissan Altima also takes top honors for best-in-class V-6 fuel economy with 24 mpg city / 27 mpg combined / 31 mpg highway, although those numbers are still handily beaten by the turbocharged four-cylinder motors under the hood of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima 2.0T.