Nissan sales fall on tight supplies; JX helps Infiniti
NASHVILLE -- Tight inventories of Versa sedans and certain trim packages of the redesigned Altima contributed to a September decline for the Nissan Division.
The brand's sales fell 2 percent from September 2011. Through the first nine months of the year, Nissan Division's sales rose 11 percent, trailing the industry's 15 percent gain.
Overall Nissan North America sales fell 1 percent for the month, as the Infiniti luxury unit gained 11 percent. The increase was due largely to robust demand for its newest model, the JX crossover.
The addition of 2,251 JX sales offset declines in Infiniti's other key products. The G sedan fell 29 percent to 2,807 sales for the month, and the M fell 45 percent to 500 units. Through September, Infiniti's sales rose 20 percent.
Ben Poore, North American vice president for the Infiniti Business Unit, said the brand was also held back in September by tight inventories, including the QX SUV, which declined 8 percent.
Al Castignetti, vice president for sales at Nissan Division, said demand for the newly redesigned Altima equipped with tech packages continues to outpace availability. The new Altima was launched over the summer and is still ramping up production at two U.S. factories.
Castignetti said dealers had enough tech-equipped models in stock in September to account for 6 percent of the Altima sales mix, but the automaker forecasted that it could have sold 15 percent of the vehicles with the tech package.
The Altima accounted for sales of 24,448 units in September, just 92 more than in September 2011 when the outgoing model was in its final year.
Castignetti estimated that Nissan incentive spending is one-third lower than it was a year ago as new models reach the market.
"The new Altima is not being incentivized as it was in the past year," he said. "We're really selling it on its own merits as a model that can stand up to the Camry and the Accord."
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