NASHVILLE -- While winter weather chilled demand in one of its biggest U.S. regions, Nissan North America posted a gain of nearly 15 percent in combined Nissan and Infiniti brand sales in January.
Nissan Division sales rose about 15 percent for the month, compared with a year ago, with sales of its small cars and trucks leading the way.
Sales at Infiniti were led by growing sedan volume, especially the new entry-level G25. The luxury brand’s sales rose about 10 percent over January 2010.
Infiniti dealers sold 7,405 vehicles in January, compared with 6,711 a year ago. Nissan brand sales totaled 64,442 cars and trucks, up from 55,861 in January 2010.
For both marques, heavy winter weather in the Northeast dampened expectations of even bigger gains.
“Our products are selling well. We just lost a couple of weekends due to the weather there,” said Al Castignetti, Nissan Division vice president. “As a point of comparison, we had a 47 percent sales increase in our L.A. market for the month.”
The brand’s small Rogue crossover posted a 27 percent gain nationally, even without Northeastern dealers firing on all cylinders. The compact Frontier pickup posted a 43 percent gain, and Versa sales moved ahead nearly 47 percent.
The Altima, the Nissan brand’s highest volume model, saw a decline of almost 12 percent from a year earlier.
The addition of the G25 sedan to the Infiniti lineup helped boost G-sedan sales by 21 percent, Infiniti Vice President Ben Poore said.
But, he said, Infiniti also was held back by weather conditions.
“The Northeast is our biggest market,” Poore said. Despite that, sales declined in only two segments -- the EX crossover, which has had trouble gaining ground for months, and the G-coupe.
The full-sized luxury QX56 SUV generated a sales gain of almost 18 percent compared with January 2010. But, Poore said, his dealers could have sold many more if units had been available.
“We entered into January with only a 13-day supply of them,” he said. “We had a big shipment arrive in New Jersey that would have helped us. But because of the bad weather, we couldn’t get the shipment unloaded and processed.”