2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

There may not be a Nissan Altima Hybrid for the 2012 model year, but that doesn't mean it won't return as part of the sedan's next generation lineup. According to Japan's Nikkan Kogyo business daily, Nissan is reportedly developing a new Altima Hybrid based on the automaker's in-house hybrid technology, currently used in the Infiniti M35h.

Of course, the gasoline/electric system will need to be altered before it slots into the next-generation Altima. Nissan's current hybrid architecture is made up of a 3.5-liter V6 and rear-wheel drive in the M35h, but in the Altima, this system will be adapted for four-cylinder, front-wheel drive use. In talking to Automotive News, a Nissan spokesperson says that the automaker is committed to expanding its hybrid lineup, calling the front-drive/four-cylinder application "the most effective way to increase mileage in larger D-segment vehicles and above."

Currently, the Infiniti M35h is the only hybrid vehicle in Nissan's greater portfolio, and is the first vehicle to use a hybrid system developed solely in-house. The Altima Hybrid, introduced in 2007, was powered by a Toyota-sourced hybrid drive system.