Nissan has been relying on fleet sales to hit its targets, and pulling back from fleet was one of the key reasons the automaker saw its US sales decline 7% in February. Nissan sold 90,489 vehicles in February, down from 97,492 in February 2012. The luxury Infiniti brand sold 9,147 vehicles for the month, a decline of 1% from the previous year. The Altima and Sentra models took the biggest hit from backing off fleet sales, even though they’ve become heavily marketed redesigned models for 2013.
Altima unit sales fell 16% to 27,725 sales in February compared with 32,953 in February 2012. The Sentra dropped 5% to 10,058 sales in February. Altima fleet sales were cut by 20% from February 2012 level at the time the brand was still marketing the end of that version of the Altima before it was refreshed. It’s doing better on the retail side in the new model year. Overall numbers for the Altima have been hurt by a four-day blizzard in the Northeast.
Sales gains did happen for the redesigned Pathfinder crossover utility vehicle. Sales improved 146% from a year earlier.