NASHVILLE -- Strong performances by one of Nissan's freshest models and one of its oldest helped lift the brand's October sales 22 percent over October 2010.
But a drop in sales at the Infiniti brand left Nissan North America Inc.'s combined sales up 18 percent from a year earlier. Infiniti's boss said the brand will raise its marketing spending to keep up with higher outlays by German rivals.
Nissan Versa sales rose 47 percent in October to 8,889 units, due largely to the introduction of a redesigned sedan that has been reaching dealers for the past several weeks.
Meanwhile, the older Nissan Sentra posted a 41 percent sales increase to 8,384, despite being in the final months of its model cycle. Nissan will introduce a redesigned Sentra next year.
Nissan Division posted October sales of 75,484 in October, up from 61,843 a year earlier. The luxury Infiniti brand's October sales fell 14 percent to 6,862.
Ben Poore, Infiniti Business Unit vice president, said Infiniti's German competitors have been advertising heavily, and Infiniti will now follow suit.
Infiniti launched its annual year-end Limited Engagement marketing campaign today, two weeks earlier than usual, Poore said.
"We're playing hard this month," he said, adding that Infiniti inventories are at a 60-day supply after running low for several months.
Al Castignetti, vice president of Nissan Division sales and marketing, said that all of Nissan's key products gained ground in October, despite the freak winter storm "that wrecked New England and blew my last weekend."
The Altima, which has been outselling the Honda Accord in recent months and closing in on the Toyota Camry as the market's best-selling car, posted a 15 percent sales gain 21,838.