NASHVILLE -- Big demand for the compact Rogue crossover helped boost Nissan sales by 12 percent in October, despite a dip in Altima sedan deliveries as it prepares for a 2016 freshen.
The Rogue’s performance continues to benefit Nissan, with the crossover outselling the Altima for a second consecutive month. Nissan sold 24,939 Rogues in October, a 70 percent increase from a year ago, while the Altima declined 11 percent to 20,948.
The Nissan brand recorded 104,904 sales in October, compared with 94,072 in October 2014. The Infiniti luxury brand achieved a 23 percent increase to 11,143 sales for the month.
By comparison, in October 2014, the Altima sold 23,544 while the Rogue sold 14,685.
“We’re just starting to realize the potential of the Rogue,” says Dan Mohnke, Nissan vice president for U.S. sales and marketing operations. “We’ve been constrained, and we’re now getting into a better inventory position.”
Nissan has been working to boost factory output at the Rogue’s North American component suppliers, particularly for parts on the model’s more expensive and higher-content trim packages, Mohnke says. The Rogue is attracting more affluent buyers than Nissan expected, pushing sales for loaded versions of the crossover.
He says the plan to give U.S. dealers access to even larger Rogue inventories by importing higher volumes has not yet taken effect. Nissan imports a small share of Rogues from a Renault-owned factory in South Korea. It is retooling a Japanese factory to supply the U.S. market with up to 100,000 Rogues a year.
Mohnke notes that the Altima’s October sales dip was largely the result of a pause in fleet orders. A heavily freshened 2016 Altima launches later this month, and most fleet buyers opted to wait for the new model instead of buying in October. Retail sales of the sedan rose 13 percent, compared with October 2014.
Retail sales for the brand in general were up 15 percent from a year ago, Mohnke reports.
Nissan posted a 17 percent gain in Maxima sales, which totaled 4,903 for the month. That recently redesigned model was been featured in heavy national TV advertising in October during football programming.
Similarly, the new-generation Murano crossover rose 25 percent in October to 5,350 sales. Nissan will step up football-schedule advertising for the Murano this month.