Nissan to push fleet sales

Nissan is looking to grow its business in the commercial fleet segment.

Nissan says it has no plans to put the brakes on its fleet sales, despite a recent call-out from cross-country rival Honda.

At the recent New York auto show John Mendel, Honda's executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., criticized Nissan for inflating its overall sales by increasing sales to rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise. Although Nissan has been ramping up some fleet sales in recent months, the company says those sales have been to profitable commercial customers, not to rental customers as claimed by Mendel.

"Of course, we need to be active in fleet," Jose Munoz, chairman of Nissan North America, told Automotive News. "In fleet, you have a lot of subsegments. You have the rental, which is not very profitable. And then you have the commercial fleet, which is where we are focusing."

Munoz added that Nissan's commercial fleet business is up by 60 percent this year while sales to rental companies have actually decreased. However, Munoz didn't provide any specific figures.

Nissan has fortified its commercial lineup in recent years, including the addition of the full-size NV van and the compact NV200, which will soon be used as a taxicab in New York City. Honda, meanwhile, sells exclusively to the retail market.

During the first quarter of 2015 Nissan sales rose 3.1 percent to 333,786 vehicles. During the same period Honda posted a 2.4 percent increase to 294,299 deliveries.

Image by Ben Hsu.

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