NASHVILLE -- New factory capacity and tweaked factory orders are helping Nissan brand set record sales records this year.
The brand posted record November volumes of 93,376 cars and trucks, up 11 percent from a year earlier. It was the eighth record month out of the past 11, said Fred Diaz, Nissan vice president for sales, marketing, parts and service.
"We've got new capacity coming on stream, and it's allowing us to move past some of the constraints we've been under recently," he said today. "Dealers are getting more product now."
Sentra sales rose 63 percent to 11,664 for the month, thanks in large part to two new Sentra assembly lines -- one in Canton, Miss., and another that opened just last month in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Diaz said that as production in Mexico ramps up, "I see no reason why Sentra sales won't keep rising for us."
Although Versa sales were down 6 percent to 8,327 units, the problem was again constrained capacity, specifically of the Versa sedan. The tally doesn't reflect that sales of the newer Versa Note hatchback rose 17 percent.
The Frontier pickup sales also rose in November thanks to recent factory changes. According to Diaz, who joined Nissan this summer from Chrysler Group, the mid-sized pickup had been an overlooked opportunity for the past couple of years.
"I drove the truck soon after I came to Nissan, and I thought, 'This is a great truck. Why aren't we selling more of them?'
"So with input from the dealers, we worked out better Tier 2 regional marketing for the Frontier, and we asked the factory for more 4-cylinder engines."
Nissan had diverted its 4-cylinder engine factory capacity in Decherd, Tenn., to export markets, and it was marketing the Frontier as a V-6 engine truck.
That has changed now, Diaz says, and the truck is selling briskly as a clearer alternative to full-sized trucks. Nissan retailers sold 6,003 Frontiers in November, up 62 percent from November 2012.
Nissan and Infiniti sales combined totaled 106,528 in November, an 11 percent increase from a year earlier. Infiniti's new Q50 sedan helped boost that brand's volume to 13,152 for the month, a gain of 11 percent.