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Junkyard Gem: 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid Sedan

Once Honda blazed the trail for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles here with the 2000 Insight, and the Toyota Prius proved to us that hybrids worked fine as real-world cars a year later, the race was on among other manufacturers to get into the hybrid game. GM managed to put together a “mild hybrid” Silverado for 2004, and Ford began selling the Escape Hybrid as a 2005 model. Nissan managed to avoid being too late to the hybrid party by introducing the Altima Hybrid for the 2007 model year; sales were poor, but I’ve managed to find one of these cars in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard recently.

Nissan was busy developing what would become by far the world’s biggest-selling pure electric vehicle of the 2010s during the middle 2000s, and so the crew from Yokohoma saved time by licensing Toyota’s hybrid technology for use in this car.

The Toyota system worked fine, and it allowed the 2008 Altima Hybrid to deliver 35 city and 33 highway miles per gallon. That was better than the 23 city/31 highway mileage of the ordinary ’08 Altima sedan with automatic, but not enough better to tempt many buyers.

The MSRP on this car was $25,480, or about $37,062 in 2023 dollars. Meanwhile, the cheapest pure-gasoline ’08 Altima sedan could be had for just $18,620 ($27,084 after inflation). Because of the excellent city fuel economy, the New York City Police Department bought some Altima Hybrids for use as patrol cars.

The Altima Hybrid was available just in Canada, California, New York and the other eight states that had adopted California’s strict energy-efficiency regulations for motor vehicles. Sales were so slow that it got the axe after the 2011 model year.

It appears that the body and interior were in very good condition when this car arrived in its final parking space, so we can assume that some costly mechanical failure doomed this car.

The dash has a sticker from Burning Man 2022, so it was a known runner a bit more than a year ago.

Maybe today’s Junkyard Gem was bought new at Hayward Nissan, located just a few miles from its final parking spot.


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