Enough, says Nissan: We're passing along higher costs

The Nissan Titan: Higher costs mean higher prices.
Enough is enough, says Nissan. After fuming for two years about the soaring costs of steel, plastics and other raw materials, the automaker has begun raising sticker prices.

The 2009 Titan full-sized pickup got a $190 raw materials surcharge, a 0.75 percent bump in the sticker; and the full-sized Armada SUV got a surcharge of $1,080 or 3 percent.

"The industry needs to increase prices, and we are doing it," Nissan Motor Co. CFO Alain Dassas told a group of analysts Aug. 1. "We are doing it anywhere and everywhere we can do it smartly and without, hopefully, jeopardizing our volume."

Automakers have been scorched by stiff price increases for steel, petroleum-based products, aluminum and other materials. But vehicle sales are falling — a bad time, it would seem, for automakers to raise prices.

Nissan North America — whose U.S. sales are down only 0.9 percent through the first seven months of this year compared with the industrywide drop of 10.5 percent — says it has had enough.

"We are going to increase pricing," Dassas said, "and our intent is to match completely the additional price increase of raw material with (vehicle) price increases."

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