Nissan sets April record, loses round against Honda

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NASHVILLE -- Nissan brand sales shot up 19 percent for a record April sales month, with 94,764 cars and trucks.

Nissan maintained its year-to-date sales lead over rival Honda. However, Honda outsold the Nissan brand in April, ending Nissan’s three-month winning streak.

Nissan retailers set April sales records for the Altima, Rogue, Versa, Juke and Leaf. Sales of the Versa subcompact rose 47 percent to 10,481 as the company launched a freshened Versa sedan model.

“The industry has shifted into high gear for spring and we’re doing great,” said Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for U.S. sales and marketing, parts and service. “It’s all looking good. Our core models are up 11 percent year to date. Our crossover models are up 23 percent year to date.”

Diaz says the year-over-year sales gains occurred despite a reduction of $974 per vehicle in Nissan-brand incentive spending in April from a year earlier, to $1,653.

“We’re not throwing ridiculous amounts of incentive money out there to sell these vehicles,” Diaz says.

The average industry incentive spend was $2,858, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

TrueCar, which measures new-car transaction prices across the industry, reports that the average transaction price for combined Nissan and Infiniti vehicles rose 0.4 percent to $25,854 compared to April 2013, but declined by 9 percent from March.

TrueCar also reports that incentive spending for Nissan North America -- reflecting combined Nissan and Infiniti brand activity -- rose by 2 percent in April compared to the year-ago month to $2,763 per vehicle, and by 28 percent per vehicle from one month earlier.

Infiniti sold 9,170 vehicles in April, an increase of 17 percent from a year earlier.

But a Nissan spokesman says the automaker relies on data supplied by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network. Those figures indicate that combined Nissan and Infiniti incentive spending actually declined both from April 2013 and from March 2014.

The spokesman cited the Power data, which is not published for public use, showing that combined Nissan and Infiniti brand incentive spending declined from $2,978 in April 2013, to $2,888 in March 2014, to $1,929 last month.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at lchappell@crain.com.


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