New crossovers keep Nissan, Infiniti ahead for January
The redesigned Pathfinder contributed 6,281 units of Nissan's U.S. volume in January, a 4,200-unit increase from a year earlier.
NASHVILLE -- Sales gains from the recently launched Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti JX crossovers kept those two brands from falling below prior year volumes last month.
Nissan Division posted a 2 percent improvement for January, selling 73,793 cars and trucks, an increase of 1,276 from January 2012, the company said today.
That was an all-time January record for Nissan Division, with the redesigned Pathfinder playing a key role. The model contributed 6,281 of the month's volume, a 4,200-unit increase from a year earlier.
Infiniti sales rose 5 percent to 7,126 vehicles from a year ago. Of those, 1,970 sales came from the JX crossover, which launched last March.
"I'd call this a real nice start to 2013, considering we topped January 2012, which was the second best January in our history," says Al Castignetti, Nissan Division vice president for sales and marketing. "Looking at some of our competitors, I would like to have been up a little more. But it was a good start."
The Pathfinder is one of several redesigned products that Nissan is changing over, including the Altima and Sentra. Sentra sales rose 27 percent as the redesigned model began moving into dealer inventories.
The Pathfinder was redesigned for model year 2013, replacing the previous rear-drive SUV platform as a front-wheel-drive crossover chassis. It shares its platform and factory line with the Infiniti JX, which has become one of Infiniti's biggest-volume products.
Dealers from both brands have been clamoring for more of the vehicles, which share the same assembly line in Smyrna, Tenn.
Sales of the redesigned Altima fell 4 percent to 21,464, despite offering improved fuel economy and technology from the model Nissan offered a year ago. Castignetti says the Altima's mid-sized sedan segment is more competitive now than it was a year ago, when its chief rivals -- Toyota and Honda -- were still low on Camry and Accord inventories.
"It's a tougher segment than it was," he says, "and I'm glad we have an improved Altima to compete in it."
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