NASHVILLE -- Another month of booming Rogue sales failed to shield Nissan from the industry’s downturn in April.
Nissan brand sales fell 2 percent to 111,201 light vehicles for the month, despite sizable gains by the Rogue compact crossover, Titan full-size pickup, Armada large SUV and Maxima large sedan.
April contained one fewer selling day than a year ago, noted Judy Wheeler, Nissan’s vice president of U.S. sales. But the industry trend away from cars also took a bite out of Nissan’s monthly results.
The Altima midsize sedan, the brand’s biggest-selling product in April 2016, fell 29 percent last month, a loss of more than 8,000 deliveries.
In recent months, Nissan has offset the decline in car sales with surging demand for the Rogue. In April, Rogue sales increased 18 percent to 27,386, but it was outgunned by both of its direct competitors, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
Armada sales rose 135 percent to 2,007 and Titan deliveries reached 4,033, a 299 percent jump. Maxima and Sentra bucked the industry shift away from cars by posting April improvements. Maxima’s sales rose 22 percent and Sentra’s climbed 5.8 percent.
But the brand was unable to resist the marketwide decline in April.
“It’s just gotten very competitive,” Wheeler said. “Some of our competitors are being very aggressive on incentives right now, and I don’t see us doing that.”
She said Nissan trimmed incentives by $200 a vehicle in April, compared with March levels, and said the brand was $340 lower than industry average for the month.
Total Nissan North America sales, including Infiniti, slid 1.5 percent to 121,998. Infiniti moderated the downturn with sales increasing 3.5 percent to 10,797, mainly because of higher crossover and SUV demand.
Randy Parker, vice president of Infiniti Americas, attributed the gain to higher demand for the QX30, QX70 and QX80.
“I’m not satisfied with our performance in April, but we’re trending in the right direction,” Parker said. He said Infiniti’s incentive levels are also down from a year ago, with no specific plan to increase spending.