NASHVILLE -- Nissan Division's three leading sedans -- the Altima, Versa and Sentra -- helped push the brand's U.S. sales in July to a 12 percent gain over July 2011.
Nissan Division sold 86,722 cars and light trucks for the month, up from 77,191 in July 2011. U.S. sales at Infiniti, the Nissan Motor Co. luxury brand, surged 57 percent to 11,619 cars and light trucks in the month, up from 7,410 in July a year ago.
Combined shipments of Nissan's three core sedans accounted for 8,512 of the 9,531 incremental unit sales the Nissan brand posted last month.
That was largely due to the launch of the redesigned 2013 Altima, which was supported by a burst of national advertising last month, said Al Castignetti, Nissan Division general manager.
The ad campaign generated shopping traffic and drove sales of the new Altima, and stimulated bargain-hunting for the outgoing 2012 Altima, Castignetti said.
The 2013 model accounted for about 35 percent of Altima sales for the month, but Nissan closed July with only about 10,000 2012 Altimas in inventory, he says.
Nissan dealers also saw brisk sales of the Rogue crossover, which posted a 17 percent sales gain from a year ago. Nissan also benefited from demand for four of its aging light trucks -- the Frontier and Titan pickups and the Xterra and Pathfinder SUVs. The Nissan brand's truck sales climbed 10 percent last month.
For Infiniti, improved inventory, a new crossover and local advertising support have helped U.S. sales rise 21 percent this year through July, with the biggest gains coming in recent months.
The division's U.S. sales soared 66 percent in May and June.
A year ago, the brand's complete reliance on imports from Japan crimped sales in the aftermath of the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Additionally, Infiniti is now ramping up volume of its new Tennessee-built JX crossover.
Sales of the JX, which is being featured in national TV commercials during the Olympics, totaled 1,999 in July. Ben Poore, Infiniti Business Unit vice president, said the brand also is benefiting this summer from more local advertising presence in its top 35 markets due to the creation of a regional dealer advertising fund.
The ad fund helped drive store traffic for the brand's bread-and-butter product, the G37 sedan, Poore said. G sedan sales were up 89 percent from July 2011, and G coupe sales rose a little more than 1 percent.