NASHVILLE -- Nissan's strategy to pull back from the midsize-car competition in favor of compacts paid off in September, with bigger Sentra sales helping to lift the brand 9.3 percent to set a September record.
Nissan Division sales totaled 127,187 for the month, compared with 116,384 a year earlier, with strong gains on both the car and light-truck side of the product ledger.
In addition to the Sentra, the Rogue crossover and the full-size Armada SUV both rose sharply to set September records.
Judy Wheeler, Nissan Division vice president of U.S. sales, said Nissan has strategically pulled back from its heavy focus on the midsize Altima for the time being to devote more attention and resources to the Sentra.
The Sentra rose 40 percent to 19,128 sales for the month.
"That strategy is working for us," she told Automotive News. "We did well in that space. We're staying away from the incentive wars going on in the lower midsize-car segment and focusing instead on Sentra."
Wheeler said the company has reduced its factory orders for the Altima for now and has not yet introduced its 2018 model. Altima sales for the month were down 34 percent 16,569 in September.
"We're not going to get crazy in incentives as dealers transition into 2018 and are getting rid of their '17s."
Sales of the Rogue rose 47 percent to 38,969 for the month, partly reflecting the availability of the model variant, the Rogue Sport. September marked the launch of advertising for the added model.
Armada sales increased 160 percent to 4,447 units for the month, and the Maxima large sedan rose 28 percent to 8,404 sales.
Wheeler said September sales results were strong across much of the U.S. market, with the Northeast, Northwest and Central regions -- including Texas -- all posting double-digit gains over a year ago. She said Nissan's typically strong Southeast region was hampered by market disruptions around Florida from Hurricane Irma, primarily the power outages that crimped business activity in some towns there in the middle of the month.
Infiniti delivered a 12 percent increase in vehicle sales for the month, led by three of its crossovers -- the QX30, QX50 and QX60.
The brand recorded 12,745 sales in September, compared to 11,413 a year ago.
"The crossovers and SUVs continue to do the trick for us," said Randy Parker, vice president of Infiniti North America. "And we also continue to do well with our newer products."
He noted that the QX50 continues to perform well, despite being at the end of its model cycle. A redesigned QX50 will launch next March.
Infiniti also posted sharp increases in some of its lower-volume products. The Q60 coupe rose 54 percent to 763 sales for the month, and the Q70 sedan increased 37 percent to 550 sales.