Nissan North America had a chilly November, with U.S. sales tumbling across the board, even in the typically resilient pickup and utility segments.
The group's U.S. sales tumbled nearly 19 percent to 110,513 cars and light trucks in November. The Nissan division sold 96,427 vehicles last month, down 22 percent from Nov. 2017. Infiniti sales, meanwhile, ticked up 8.1 percent to 14,086 units.
Combined sales of Nissan and Infiniti car models dropped by 33 percent last month and are now down 17 percent year to date.
In a market heavily favoring utilities and pickups, the Nissan brand took a hit in those segments as well — its light-truck sales dropped 14 percent last month, compared with the same period a year ago. Infiniti light-truck sales, however, soared 37 percent in November, fueled by the QX50, QX60 and QX80.
The monthly sales decline is attributable partly to Nissan's ongoing strategy to reduce overall fleet sales, while boosting retail and commercial fleet business, said Billy Hayes, division vice president for Nissan regional operations in North America.
"Our focus is to put cars in people's driveways and to put cars in the ... parking lots of commercial businesses that are using our vehicles to generate revenue," Hayes said Monday.
Some of the sales decline is also attributable to model year transitions.
"We've got to really shore up what we're doing in advance for replacing about 70 percent of our volume over the course of about the next two years," Hayes said. "We are set to have a very young product lineup."
Consider the redesigned 2019 Altima that went on sale in October. "We probably have less than one per dealer right now," Hayes said about the previous generation Altima.
For Nissan, the path doesn't get easier in 2019 with stiff competition and new entries abound in the nonluxury space, said Akshay Anand, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
"Nissan does have some new product coming out, as they always will with such a big lineup," Anand said. "But, beyond Rogue, they are having trouble winning segments, which may require serious rethinking at some point."
Brands: Nissan down 22%, Infiniti up 8.1%
Notable nameplates: Nissan Titan sales down 50%, Maxima down 59%, Altima down 37%, Rogue down 12%, Infiniti QX50 up 86%, Infiniti Q50 down 34% .
Incentives: $4,329 per vehicle, down 1% from a year earlier, ALG says.
Average transaction price: $27,870, up 0.3% from a year earlier, according to ALG
Inventory: On Nov. 1, Nissan had 289,800 vehicles in inventory in the U.S., down from 346,100 vehicles at the same time last year, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Quote: Dealers "are really jacked up on the new Altima, especially in markets that sell all-wheel drive," Hayes said about the 2019 Altima sedan.
Did you know? Every Nissan brand sedan posted a sales decline in November except the electric Leaf.