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Nissan tops Honda, gains 10% as Rogue stars

NASHVILLE -- The new-generation Rogue crossover helped Nissan Division overcome bad weather in key markets to post a 10 percent U.S. sales increase in January.

Nissan Division sales totaled 81,472 cars and light trucks for the month, setting a record for January volume.

The results gave Nissan a rare and narrow sales victory over its rival Honda Division, which sold 80,808 light vehicles for the month.

Nissan's performance was helped by a 55 percent jump in Rogue sales to 13,831 units.

That volume was "purely the 2014 Rogue," says Fred Diaz, Nissan Division senior vice president for U.S. sales, marketing, parts and service. Nissan plans to supplement Rogue sales this year with the previous-generation model, marketed at a lower price under the name Rogue Select. "But the Rogue Select won't even be in the market for another two months.

"The weather was bad, but the dealers were resilient," Diaz says. "Our product continues to resonate well. Our dealers are getting a good inventory of Rogue now and the plant is right on schedule with Rogue production."

Nissan's increase came despite the same bad January weather in the Southeast and East Coast that hindered its competitors. The winter disruptions did not prevent Nissan retailers from delivering record January volumes for the Juke and the electric Leaf. Nissan's mid-sized Frontier pickup also experienced an 88 percent increase to 4,931 sales, thanks to a ready availability of four-cylinder engines.

Diaz noted that the increases are occurring even as Nissan reduced its incentive spend between Dec. 13 and Jan. 14.

"Our incentive spend went down by $571 [per unit]. The industry average went down by $309. But our average net transaction price went up by $95.

"We're going to stay with this kind of momentum."

Separately, the Infiniti luxury brand posted a 26 percent U.S. sales increase for January, to 8,998 light vehicles. The new Q50 sedan, which was unavailable in January 2013, was Infiniti's volume leader last month, with 2,949 sales.

Combined, Nissan and Infiniti posted January sales of 90,470, a 12 percent gain over January 2013.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at

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