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Nissan's truck sales stumble

By Kathy Jackson
Automotive News / April 12, 2004

Nissan is struggling with disappointing sales for three models built at its 1-year-old plant in Canton, Miss.

Dealers are having trouble meeting sales projections for the full-sized Titan pickup and Armada SUV. And Nissan already has backed down from aggressive sales projections for its restyled Quest minivan launched last summer.

Nissan committed $1.4 billion to construct a multivehicle assembly plant in Canton to produce the Titan pickup, Quest minivan, Armada SUV and its QX56 Infiniti version, as well as the Altima sedan.

"More marketing is needed," says Jed Connelly, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan North America Inc.

He says Nissan will begin a round of regional advertising for the Titan beginning this month and for the Armada in June.

Up - selectively

Overall, Nissan sales rose 32.8 percent through the first three months of the year compared with 2003. But its Altima sedan - in one of the United States' most competitive and low-margin segments - is carrying the weight.

Nissan launched its first full-sized pickup in December. It predicted sales of 100,000 Titans during its first full year on the market. The Armada went on sale in October with expectations of 40,000 sales in 2004.

In the first quarter, Nissan sold just 14,207 Titans and 7,633 Armadas. When Nissan introduced the Quest in July, executives predicted sales of 80,000 to 85,000 in 2004. But volume has been between 3,000 and 4,000 a month.

The Armada "has the right hardware and pricing, but the name Armada is new to the industry," Connelly says. "You can't overestimate the time it takes to seed a new name in the marketplace."

Swollen inventories

Meanwhile, inventory is piling up for the three Nissan trucks. The company had a 110-day supply of Armadas on April 1, a 97-day supply of Quests and a 95-day supply of Titans.

"We're ramping up on Titan," Connelly says. "Trucks are unlike cars. We like to run a 50-day supply of cars. But we found out days' supply of trucks need to be higher - about 75 days. That's because truck buyers like to see a lot more models."

Nissan says the lower-than-expected factory volumes are not a problem. Canton's total capacity of 400,000 vehicles a year is divided among five products and two brands. Workers there can move from one product to another.

Production of the Quest and Altima are expected to total 250,000 units a year. That leaves 150,000 units of annual production for the three big body-on-frame trucks.

After the launch, Nissan heavily advertised both the Titan and Armada for several weeks, then pulled back.

But the Titan faces powerfully entrenched competition. It is up against the redesigned Ford F series as well as the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Dodge Ram. And Toyota will be in the market soon with a successor to its Tundra full-sized pickup. The Armada competes against the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Tahoe.
 

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Interesting article. I just got mine 2 weeks ago and besides the fact that I walked in on the last day of the quarter. I also went to the closest dealer with the largest inventory. With that said, I got a good discount. Solid price for what appears to be a great product with a few hiccups to be addressed.
 

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I went to three Nissan dealers before I bought my Titan and two out of the three were selling at strictly MSRP.

They did not even seem interested in selling a truck! Finally one dealer came through at MSRP. Rosenthal Nissan in Viena VA.
 

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casique said:
I went to three Nissan dealers before I bought my Titan and two out of the three were selling at strictly MSRP.

They did not even seem interested in selling a truck! Finally one dealer came through at MSRP. Rosenthal Nissan in Viena VA.
You bought the truck at MSRP from Rosenthal? We went to Rosenthal and it was like we didn't exist. Ended up walking out after they lowballed on the trade numbers.

The internet guy gave a good price on the truck, so we took that number to Brown's in Sterling. They matched it. We ended up approx $3k below MSRP

4x4 SE Crew Cab with Popular, Utility, Offroad and Big Tow.
 

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I got my Titan for $2,300 under sticker. Victory Nissan, Richmond, VA.
 

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I think that any of these dealers that will not sell the Titans below MSRP are really hurting Nissan!! If Nissan new of these dealers that sell at MSRP or above, maybe they could get them to back off a bit! People are not Stupid! They know when they are getting a bad deal! Those dealers should be more willing to sell the trucks!!
Just my thoughts. :)
 

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I got my new smoke KC XE 2WD for 19995 at Cowles Nissan in Woodbridge. Had floormats and mudflaps installed. thats 500 below invoice. the time is ripe now but you gotta be tough when you walk in. Several other dealers said they would sell for invoice which is pretty good considering prices the last few months.

juma
 

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Closest dealer to me wanted sticker, no negotiating. Another dealer, not much further from me, advertised in the local newspaper 2500 below sticker. I'm lucky though they had what I was looking for in stock.
The other thing is I haven't seen anything on t.v. for the Titan since like the super bowl. Everything else but.
 

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Got mine for $500 over invoice, but it was my second nissan from that dealaership in a year (03 Murano) so they worked with me a little bit. I've found that Nissan rarely discounts anywhere close to the big 3, but I also feel that the quality is so good that their prices are still close to a bargain. Not that $30,000 for a truck is cheap, but when you compare the price to a Ford or Dodge, you get a lot more and then some in a Nissan. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Got mine for about $2500 under MSRP. But that was at the third dealer I went to.They also paid off my high milage mini van. The other guy were giving me $2000 less for the van and wanted window sticker. It pays to shop around.
 

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I called ten dealers today shopping prices.

Sent each of them a fax outlining what I wanted and told them I'd buy from the one that offered the lowest price.

Best deal so far is $2500 off MSRP...and I've only heard back from two.
 

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I posted earlier and said the I got a good deal. It was 200 over invoice. I realize that not everyone is going to find something on a dealers lot, but that is always where the best deals are made. Dealers love cleaning them up and sending them off the same day the deal is done. I walked in and had done my homework on the trade and the financing. I also asked them to print out the invoice on the vehicle and made them an offer. As I mentioned in my earlier post, it was the last day of month and the last day of the quarter. These all had an impact on their saying "let's do it".
 

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I got mine for $100 over invoice though www.edmunds.com :computern

Submited what I wanted, and had 4 dealers contact me with anywhere from $100 to $1000 over invoice.

Avondale was the best. No hassle, no tricks (like a Peoria guy tried), no extra paint ****, no stickers on my truck. In Test drive, papers and out. Best buying experence ever!

If in AZ, send him and email or call him.

Avondale Nissan
Kevin McCarthy
Fleet/Internet Manager
(623)907-5000x128 cell(480)236-2351
[email protected]

Tell Him you want the same(or better) deal I got.

Wayne Farnes
 

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So do you all think that the Nissan Titan sales will pickup and that Nissan will reach its 100,000 goal. So far it is looking progressive. It started at 2,072 for December. It went to 4,035 in January. It was up to 4,640 in February. And it hit 5,532 in March. One of which was mine :) It needs to average 8,333 sold a month to make the total. I think it should make it to the 8,333 rate by summer, but I think it will have a hard time making up the difference.

BTW, I bought mine at invoice.
 

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I wish some of that inventory would work it's way towards the northwest. :rolleyes:

The local dealerships still only have a handful of Titans to chose from out here. I doubt Nissan will attain it's 100,000 unit goal this year. Maybe next year!

A friend of mine just purchased a Ram 1500 with the Hemi and with all the discounts he got close to $10k off msrp. I told him he'll need all that saved money for gas as he is right around the 10mpg mark. The local ford dealerships are advertising decent mark downs on the 2k4 F150 already. They are selling $32k trucks for $26,500. That's gotta do wonders for resale!

I would like to see Nissan offer low financing before they play the rebate game.
 

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KnightRider said:
I called ten dealers today shopping prices.

Sent each of them a fax outlining what I wanted and told them I'd buy from the one that offered the lowest price.

Best deal so far is $2500 off MSRP...and I've only heard back from two.

Where are you located? Seems to me you could get some help from the people out here who ahve already fought through the bad dealers.
 

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Back in the day when the Japanese automakers launched their luxury car divisions, Acura came out first. This was followed by Lexus and Infinity which came out at roughly the same time. Lexus had some very snazzy TV commercials which actually showed their cars. Infinity had some commercials which shows trees, roads, and other scenery, but specifically did not show any cars. This was their gimmick -- a car commercial that didn't show a car. Lexus outsold them something like 10 to 1. Surprise, surprise. No wonder Nissan almost went bankrupt.

I seldomly see Titan/Armada commercials on TV. I've seen a few print ads in Popular Mechanics, but very occasionally.

Nissan really needs to work on their advertising. They can't just match the Big 3 (in terms of advertising), but have to outdue them, because everyone already knows the Big 3 produces decent trucks. Toyota understands this. I've seen plenty of Tundra commercials on TV and in print ads in woodworking and home improvement magazines. They even stooped so low as to build a pushrod engine so they can compete in Nascar.
 

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$4,000 off msrp

4k off sticker is the best deal I've seen on the crew cab le 2wd model
ex. msrp $36,290
sale price $32,290
stafford, tx.
southaven, ms. areas as well
 
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