Nissan Motor Corp. CEO Carlos Ghosn has a goal of grabbing 10 percent of the U.S. new-car market by spring of 2017, up from 8.4 percent last year, with high-margin models like the Maxima sedan and Murano crossover. On Tuesday, the U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s third-largest automaker reported strong growth for its core vehicles and a nearly 20 percent jump in its luxury Infiniti division in February.
Nissan reported a record February of 106,777 vehicle sales in the U.S., a 1 percent increase from the same month last year, with Roque crossover sales leaping 25 percent to 21,419 units. The Nissan Pathfinder SUV and Nissan Sentra compact car also saw double-digit sales growth.
The world’s top automakers report sales throughout the day Tuesday. Forecasts expect U.S. new-vehicle sales to continue rebounding in the wake of the Great Recession that pushed new-car buying to a 30-year-low in 2009. February sales numbers indicate the country is on track to hit 17 million units for the year, which would be the highest since 2002.
Sales in the company’s Infiniti luxury division grew nearly 20 percent on strong demand for the Q40 and Q50 compact sedans. The QX80 full-sized luxury SUV saw a 43 percent increase in deliveries, to 1,583.
Nissan Leaf deliveries dropped 16 percent to 1,198 units last month. Automotive history’s best-selling electric vehicles are being closely watched to see how consumers embrace battery-powered cars, which still make up less than 1 percent of global new car sales. EV sales tend to drop in the winter months as consumers gravitate to larger vehicles. Low gasoline prices in recent months have also kept consumers from fretting over fuel economy.
A little over a year after Ghosn installed Jose Munoz as the company’s North American boss, it seems the automaker is making steady strides toward reaching that 10 percent market share goal, a key to Ghosn’s efforts to grab 8 percent of the global new-car market by 2017. As Nissan sales growth cools in Russia and Asia, the U.S. market -- the world’s second-largest after China -- remains a lynchpin in Nissan’s growth trajectory for the coming years.
Here’s a recent review from The Fast Lane Truck of the towing power behind the QX80 full-sized luxury SUV:
NISSAN AND INFINITI U.S. RECALLS SINCE THE START OF 2015
Most of the affected vehicles in these recalls are based in the U.S.
Nearly 470,000 Nissan Rogue mid-sized crossovers from the 2008 to 2014 model years were recalled to fix a potential electric short that can cause a fire. Water can seep through the carpet on the driver’s side and affect a wiring harness connects that isn’t adequately waterproofed.
Over 170,000 2013 Infiniti JX35 mid-sized luxury crossovers, 2014 QX60 mid-sized luxury crossovers, and 2013-2014 Nissan Pathfinder mid-sized crossovers were recalled to fix a hood cable that could cause the secondary latch to remain in the open position. If the primary latch fails and the secondary latch is open, then the hood could fly up while the car is in motion.
Nearly 17,000 2009 Infiniti FX45 mid-sized luxury crossovers, 2008-2009 Infiniti FX35 mid-sized luxury crossovers, 2009 Infiniti EX35 entry-level luxury crossovers and 2009 Nissan GT-R sports coupes were recalled to fix a steering column tube that might not be round. The distortion of the tube could eventually break a bearing retain, causing a partial or full loss of steering.
Nearly 900 Infiniti QX60 mid-sized luxury crossovers, Nissan Pathfinder mid-sized crossovers and Nissan Rogue mid-sized crossovers (all from the 2014-2015 model years) were recalled to fix wheel assembly hub fasteners that might have not been properly torqued. The problem could cause reduced braking performances and/or steering control.