Signs of a rebound as Q3 volume tumbles 32%

Despite another quarter of year-over-year sales declines, Nissan is seeing signs of a U.S. rebound as the economy slowly recovers from the pandemic.

Nissan Motor Co. sales tumbled 32 percent during the third quarter.

The Nissan division sold 203,783 vehicles in the latest period, down a third from a year earlier. Infiniti volume tumbled 30 percent to 17,367 vehicles.

Even so, the trajectory is headed in the right direction. In the second quarter, the Nissan division sold 161,233 vehicles — a 50 percent slump from a year earlier.

“We are seeing a steady recovery in the marketplace, with dealer profits on the rise and retail share continuing to improve,” said David Kershaw, Nissan division vice president of sales and regional operations. “The tools that Nissan has put into place to assist customers to shop and purchase remotely have been paying off.”

Nissan said it is now seeing robust demand for “core models.”

In September, the Kicks subcompact crossover had its best-ever month, while sales off the Versa subcompact sedan rose month over month during the third quarter.

Nissan is pivoting away from an aggressive pursuit of market share championed by former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. A cornerstone of that strategy is a pullback from a reliance on rental fleet shipments that dinged residual values and brand value.

Fleet sales are declining as a percentage of overall sales, a Nissan spokesman said, declining to break out the retail-to-fleet sales ratio.

Sales should also get a lift as Nissan executes a product offensive that will bring six new or redesigned vehicles to dealerships by the end of 2021. The redesigned Rogue compact crossover — Nissan’s volume model — will arrive in U.S. stores in November.

Brands: Nissan, down 33% in third quarter; Infiniti, down 30%

Notable nameplates: Nissan Titan, down 2.4%; Maxima, down 58%; Altima, down 45%; Rogue, down 38%; Infiniti QX50, up 13%; Infiniti Q50, down 29%

Incentives: $4,375 for third quarter, down 4.9% from a year earlier, ALG says.

Average transaction price: $28,508, down 0.4% from a year earlier, according to ALG.

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