Nissan Division dealers had their most profitable year in 2003.
Ray Vrscak, chairman of the Nissan Dealer Advisory Board, said the average dealer netted about $550,000 last year, up about 10 percent from 2002. "We're expecting another double-digit increase in profits this year," Vrscak said after the Nissan make meeting.
Some dealers said they are concerned about the hefty incentives being spent by competitors. They also want the company to spend more money on its certified used-vehicle program and to offer gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.
Nissan recently offered a $1,500 cash incentive on the Altima. The 2005 Altima arrives this spring. The company had been offering a low interest rate on the Altima, which was about equal to the $1,500 cash rebate, said Mark McNabb, general manager of Nissan Division.
"We just changed our tactic a little bit," he said. "The money wasn't really expanded. We have a new Altima coming in March so we wanted to clear out the '04s. We'll continue to watch incentives. It was a duel last year, but we were able to stay out of the fray."
Jed Connelly, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan North America Inc., said the company will enhance the Nissan Division certified used-vehicle program. Details will be announced in a few weeks.
He said Nissan has had a certified program for years but has not put any marketing muscle behind it.
Connelly says there will be a 2006 hybrid Altima, the division's first hybrid, but he says there are no plans for other hybrids. "We will watch it to see if that's the route to go."