Nissan Division volume jumps 22%

Good fuel economy and fresh products are driving Nissan Division’s strong sales, says Fred Diaz, senior vice president of Nissan’s U.S. sales and marketing operations.

In September, the division’s U.S. sales surged 22 percent from the year-earlier month to 95,118 vehicles. Diaz told Automotive News today that Nissan is scaling back fleet sales and incentives as consumer demand rises.

“Our fleet sales as a percent of our total sales is slightly down over where they were last year,” he said. “Incentive spend for the industry, according to TrueCar, was up 13 percent year over year.”

Nissan Division’s incentive spend was down 2 percent in September, Diaz said, citing J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network data.

Nissan’s four core vehicles -- the Versa subcompact, Sentra compact, Altima midsize sedan and Rogue crossover -- all posted gains for September. The Leaf electric car set a September record with 2,881 sales, a 48 percent increase from the year-earlier month.

Several well-known Nissan nameplates, however, posted low numbers in September. Nissan sold just 977 Titan pickups, 497 370Z sports cars, 395 Quest minivans and 159 GT-R sports cars.

Nissan has no plans to exit those segments, Diaz said. He blames the Titan’s woes on its age -- 12 years -- and says the 370Z’s volume might be higher with a sustained marketing campaign.

The GT-R, Nissan’s halo car, is meeting company expectations. Diaz said Nissan is likely to focus its major marketing efforts on more profitable segments.

Said Diaz: “When you have so many flowers to water as we do, much like other OEMs, those decisions become very difficult.”

Nissan expects its sales momentum to continue as a new version of the Murano crossover launches late this year.

September sales for Nissan Group, which includes the Infiniti luxury brand, rose 19 percent from the year-ago month to 102,955 vehicles.

Infiniti’s September sales slipped 13 percent from a year earlier to 7,837. Sales of the brand’s volume leader, the Q50 sedan, rose 16 percent to 2,742.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@autonews.com

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