Rogue passes Altima to lift Nissan volume up 17%

Nissan's U.S. sales gains in September occurred as the company seeks more Rogue output to capitalize on hot demand for the model and in the compact crossover segment in general.

NASHVILLE -- The Nissan brand posted record September U.S. sales, thanks to soaring demand for the Rogue crossover and record September volume for the Versa subcompact.

Substantial gains on most models, including the Altima sedan, boosted Nissan Division by 17 percent over year-ago results. Nissan Division totaled 111,562 U.S. sales for the month. The luxury Infiniti brand posted a 30 percent gain to 10,220 sales in September.

Nissan’s gains occurred as managers pressed for more Rogue production to capitalize on hot demand for the model and in the compact crossover segment in general. In September, the Rogue outsold the Altima to become Nissan’s volume leader — 25,064 Rogues to 24,224 Altimas.

“I can’t predict whether Rogue will continue outselling the Altima,” said Fred Diaz, Nissan senior vice president for U.S. sales & marketing and operations. “It’s going to be a great rivalry here inside the company.”

Diaz noted that a refreshed Altima will soon go on sale and is likely to ignite demand for that model, even as more consumers are shopping for the Rogue. Earlier this year, Nissan announced a plan to create factory capacity in Japan to supply up to 100,000 additional Rogues a year for the U.S. market.

September delivered a 46 percent year-over-year increase in Rogue sales. Year to date, the Rogue is up 38 percent to 213,207 sales — coming closer to Nissan’s goal of rivaling the historically bigger-selling Honda CR-V, with 259,499 units sold through September. Nissan’s 25,064 Rogue sales in September compared with 29,925 CR-V sales.

Diaz pointed out that, amid the rising demand for crossovers, Nissan also reached a September record for car sales. The Versa rose 50 percent for the month to 18,053 units — also a September record. Sales of the Sentra increased 13 percent to 14,196, and the Altima was up 12 percent.

“September started off strong with the Labor Day weekend, and the pace just didn’t stop,” Diaz said. “The momentum carried through to the last day of the month.”

Infiniti sales were lifted mainly by the QX60 crossover, which increased 76 percent in September to 3,845 sales. The luxury brand’s flagship sedan, the Q70, rose 202 percent to 622 sales for the month.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at lchappell@crain.com

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