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Nissan slips as older models change over

NASHVILLE -- Nissan Division sales dropped slightly in November as phase-outs began for several older models and the brand reduced incentives and fleet sales.

Nissan posted 91,790 sales for the month, a 2 percent decline from November 2013.

Nissan Group sales fell 3 percent to 103,188 in November, with Infiniti volume declining 13 percent to 11,398 vehicles.

Nissan Division numbers reflected limited inventories of its freshened 2015 Juke, which fell 42 percent to 2,008 sales, and reduced inventories of the outgoing Murano and Maxima, both of which will be replaced in 2015, said Fred Diaz, senior vice president for Nissan U.S. sales & marketing and operations.

The November results are compared against an incentivized sales campaign in November 2013 to push the Murano and Maxima. That sale helped move 7,208 Maximas in November 2013, compared to 3,284 last month.

“We did not want to do that this year,” Diaz says. “We knew going into November we were going to see some declines, so we were prepared for that. We didn’t want to start a big incentives battle.”

According to TrueCar, Nissan Group spent an average of $2,567 per vehicle on incentives in November, a 22 percent decline from October and a 6 percent reduction from one year ago.

Nissan Division also conducted less fleet business in November than a year earlier, Diaz says. As a result, Nissan’s November volume represented a 3 percent increase in retail sales.

Higher Rogue crossover sales last month made up for setbacks elsewhere in the Nissan line. Rogue sales rose 44 percent to 15,067 in November.

Diaz predicts that the next few months will see a stronger performance from the Altima, which declined 7 percent in November. The sedan met stiff competition last month from its chief rivals at Honda and Toyota. The competitors wooed family sedan shoppers with attractive offers on remaining 2014-model Accords and Camrys. By comparison, 98 percent of Nissan’s national Altima inventory for the month consisted of 2015 models.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at lchappell@autonews.com

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