NISSAN: Another big assist from Rogue

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Nissan North America’s U.S. sales rose 3 percent in May to 137,471 vehicles, as both Nissan and Infiniti brand grew.

Nissan brand sales were powered by “another great Rogue month,” said Judy Wheeler, division vice president.

Sales at the Nissan brand rose 1.9 percent to 124,957, while those at Infiniti jumped 16 percent to 12,514.

But the increase in sales of the Rogue compact crossover, 5,105 units, was greater than the group’s total increase of 3,975. Nissan sold 32,533 Rogues in May, up 19 percent, making it by far the group’s best seller.

Wheeler said the Rogue Sport variant just began arriving in stores in May, accounting for just 122 sales: “Basically, anything that came into dealerships went right back out.”

Although the industry selling rate has been sagging this year, Nissan’s May sales were “better than expected,” Wheeler said.

Pickups up

Other Nissan nameplates showing advances were the Titan full-size pickup, surging to 4,937 from just 922 a year earlier; the redesigned Armada full-size SUV, whose sales more than tripled to 2,487; and the Maxima sport sedan, up 18 percent to 5,948.

Wheeler noted that Titan sales have increased with the addition of the half-ton version last fall and that the King Cab version arrives this month. With the Armada, she said, “We have an opportunity to gain share in that segment.”

But if the Rogue’s continuing surge shows Nissan benefiting from the shift to crossovers, the brand is taking its lumps in car sales. Its three top-selling cars were all down. The Altima, the brand’s No. 2 seller, fell 16 percent 23,994, the Versa dropped 26 percent to 9,006 vehicles, and the Sentra dropped 9.1 percent to 18,371 vehicles.

Infiniti gains

At luxury brand Infiniti, sales of the recently redesigned Q50 compact surged 42 percent to 3,370, and the QX70 crossover rose 34 percent to 683 vehicles.

But sales of the brand’s top seller, the QX60, dropped 19 percent to 3,449.

Randy Parker, vice president of Infiniti Americas, said that “crossovers and SUVs are still the order of the day.” Coming launches, including the redesigned QX80 in December, should further boost the brand, Parker said.

“If these products perform as good as the current ones, we’ll be in good shape,” he said.

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