Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Randy Parker, vice president of Infiniti Americas.
Hard-fought incentive wars characterized the U.S. car market in August, where Nissan Group car sales dipped 24 percent.
Judy Wheeler, Nissan Division U.S. vice president of sales, says Nissan was “fairly conservative” in car pricing in August. Spiffs for SUVs, crossovers and pickups, where sales were stronger, were moderate industrywide, Wheeler said.
She added that the incentive trends in August likely will continue for the rest of the year.
“I think it will be extremely aggressive on cars,” Wheeler told Automotive News. “The name of the game on crossovers will be to just be competitive.”
Spurred by favorable economic conditions including low interest rates and gasoline prices, light-truck sales are likely to stay strong, ending an era when cars and trucks were evenly balanced, she said: “Now we’re seeing where it’s really getting stronger and stronger with crossovers and trucks.”
For the Nissan brand, the arrival of the gasoline-powered Titan full-size pickup, the recently redesigned Armada large SUV and the freshened Pathfinder midsize crossover bode well, Wheeler said.
Overall, Nissan Group's U.S. sales dropped 6.5 percent in August, with a sharp decline in car sales accounting for the decrease.
Car sales dipped by 24 percent, while truck sales rose 15 percent.
Groupwide, trucks outsold cars by more than 11,342 units in August. (Unlike Nissan, the Automotive News Data Center classifies the Juke as a truck.)
Sales of the Nissan brand’s three highest-volume cars skidded as the brand fell 6.9 percent. The Altima midsize car was off by 39 percent to 19,646 units. The Sentra compact declined 9 percent to 14,256 units, and the Versa subcompact was off 29 percent to 10,585 units. Total Nissan brand car sales fell 25 percent.
Those declines were offset somewhat by a 16 percent increase in light-truck sales. The Rogue compact crossover led the way, posting a 19 percent increase to 32,979 units. The Murano midsize crossover rose 29 percent, and the Frontier midsize pickup more than doubled to 9,537 units.