Nissan was able to quickly increase the production volume of the redesigned 2013 Altima and so dealers will begin to sell the vehicle before its official launch date of June 26. Deliveries to dealers nationwide started last week. Al Castignetti, Nissan Division vice president for sales, said that Nissan has requested its 1,100 retailers to have one new Altima as a demo model.
However, dealers can immediately sell any more Altimas they get. The Altima has been vital to widening Nissan’s market share in the U.S. As a result, the company is more eager to maintain its momentum during the model changeover.
In 2011, the Altima had higher sales than the Honda Accord in the U.S. for the first time to be the second-ranked mid-sized car in the market trailing Toyota Camry, with sales of 268,981 units.
Altima sales are higher 21% this year for the first five months of 2012 even as the model stops production. Nissan has started to take Internet preorders for the new Altima. Early customers get a three-year/45,000-mile free-maintenance plan.
Nissan aims to sell 25,000 units through this program. A TV campaign for the car will start sometime June 20.
It’s always difficult to maintain volume at a high during a model change. Altima sales dropped by 11% in May 2012 compared to the same month last year. On the other hand, April sales fell 6% compared to the previous year.
At the same time, Nissan is aiming to clear out 2012 Altimas with generous incentives, even if the company continued to make the 2012 model as it releases the 2013. Nissan is offering the 2012 models at zero percent financing for 60 months.