For the largest automakers in the U.S., 2014 got them back up to pre-recession levels. For Franklin-based Nissan North America, the year set a sales record.
A string of record months resulted in nearly 1.4 million vehicles sold – an all-time high. The Nissan brand drove most of the gains. The company’s luxury line – Infiniti – just barely broke even on the year.
Nissan’s story is a bit different from the big three domestic automakers, who saw rebounds in truck and SUV sales because of lower gas prices. Nissan’s sales drivers were still smaller models. In fact, the full-size Titan truck and the Pathfinder SUV backtracked for the year while the Altima sedan, Rogue SUV and the all-electric Leaf – which are all built in Smyrna – set sales records. In total, Nissan car sales were up 13 percent for the year.
It’s worth noting that even amid falling gas prices, sales of the Leaf continued to rise, crossing the 30,000 threshold for the first time.
By December of 2014, Nissan had increased its market share in the U.S. from 8 to 8.5 percent – slightly behind Honda and Toyota but well ahead of Hyundai.