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Nissan and Infiniti are operating at very different sales levels because of the March natural disasters that struck Japan. Nissan’s sales increased 6 percent in July over July 2010 to 77,191 cars and trucks but Infiniti’s sales slumped, declining 24 percent to 7,410.
Nissan North America’s combined sales increased 3 percent to 84,601 units, which was 1 percent stronger than the industry wide rise. Infiniti’s July sales drop was the brand’s second steep decline in two months, caused entirely by production and inventory interruptions in Japan. All Infiniti production takes place in Japan, and sales of every vehicle in its lineup fell due to inventory issues. The Nissan Altima, which is made in the US, rose by more than 3,000 units in July, increasing sales by 17 percent and Frontier sales also improved by 22 percent as consumers look to smaller trucks because of high fuel prices.
[Source: Automotive News]
The damage caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has affected manufacturing throughout Japan, however Nissan says that it anticipates being able to continue to gain market share from Honda and Toyota in North America.
Honda and Toyota stopped production entirely in the months following the earthquake and tsunami, however, Nissan was able to overcome parts shortages by shifting production to focus on those models it had enough parts to build. In June, Nissan sales were up 11 percent in the U.S, while Toyota and Honda were both down 21 percent. Furthermore, Nissan’s first-half momentum has seen sales increase 15 percent compared to Honda’s 2 percent gain and Toyota’s 4 percent loss so far in 2011. Nissan is also performing better than Ford which has seen sales rise 12 percent through the first six months of 2011. Nissan has accepted that it won’t pass Honda in North America this year, but this boost bridges the gap between the two longtime rivals.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
The Ford Fiesta has been selling exceptionally well in the Small car segment, beating key competitors like the Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa. Last May, 7,120 Fiestas were sold, outselling the Versa’s 4,793 units in the same month.
The success of the Fiesta has been attributed to skyrocketing fuel prices as well as the shortage of Japanese vehicles as a result of the March 11 earthquake.
Within the small car segment, the Fiesta commanded 4.6% of sales in June 2010 when first launched in the U.S. Last April, the Fiesta held 29.1% of sales, according to Ward’s data.
“Fiesta customers are up to three times more likely to buy for style and innovation in this segment,” explained Ken Czubay, vice president- U.S marketing, sales, and service. He also said that eighteen percent of Fiesta buyers are purchasing for the first time, and the average age of the customer is younger than two other well-known nameplates in the small car segment.
George Pipas, Ford’s top U.S sales analyst, said Ford has received increased consideration from small-car buyers over the past year.
[Source: Ward's Auto]