ORLANDO -- Nissan dealers devoted most of their make meeting to talking about new products coming this year. But dealers also heard of plans to boost inventories of older trucks.
Dealers have clamored for more Frontier and Titan pickups and full-sized Armada SUVs -- all of which had factory volumes slashed after the light-truck market began shrinking in 2007.
Al Castignetti, Nissan Division vice president of sales, told dealers that the company cautiously will boost output of the models in response to their sales rebound. He said the Armada has been defying industry expectations that large SUVs are out of favor.
"We don't have enough on the lot right now because we were being conservative," Castignetti said. "But every time we increase production, everything we make gets sucked up by the market."
Factory officials used the meeting to show dealers images and videos of the electric Nissan Leaf, which will reach the market in December; the recently announced Juke small crossover; a new family of light commercial vehicles; and the new-generation Quest minivan. Nissan plans a marketing push later this year for the Quest, which has been out of production for the past year. A refreshed Murano also is scheduled.
The company also revealed that Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. plans to begin reducing the cost of dealer floorplan financing this year. That rate reduction could start in a week or two, said Chris Assmar, chairman of the Nissan National Dealer Advisory Board.
"Nissan wants to give the dealers more support in the market," Assmar said after the make meeting. "They said they will be focusing on different fronts: product, finance, customer retention."
Dealers also pressed Nissan to expand Nissan Motor Acceptance's scope of financing for used vehicles. Dealers want the finance arm to cover non-Nissan brand cars that Nissan dealers take as trade-ins. The expansion of coverage would enable dealers to keep more of their trade-ins for resale. The current option is to pass the trade-ins along to auctions, representing a lost opportunity for retail gross.
Assmar said Nissan Motor Acceptance agreed to study the request this year.