Nissan's strategy of pulling back from rental fleet sales is being put to the test as retail sales decline among its dealers, along with much of the rest of the U.S. industry.
Faced with tumbling sales, a diminished brand image and frustrated dealers, Nissan is on a course to pursue profit margin over market share. That means breaking its addiction to fleet sales, which has dinged residual values and hurt dealer profitability.
Nissan is holding firm to its plan, despite the temptation to offset falling sales. Nissan Division U.S. sales plummeted 33 percent last year, its largest annual percentage decline. But its U.S. commercial and rental fleet sales were 68 percent lower in 2020 than in 2019, according to a vehicle registration estimate compiled by TrueCar. Last year, Nissan's percentage of fleet to overall sales was nearly half of what it was in 2019.