Nissan North America announced its January sales figures yesterday, having shifted a total of 75,891 vehicles, representing a 0.9-percent decrease over last year. But regardless of the negligible difference in overall sales, there's a real story behind the numbers that will at once surprise, delight, and dishearten fans of the automaker.

For starters, Nissan's Xterra posted a healthy 12.8-increase, perhaps with some thanks due to Motor Trend's "Truck of the Year" committee. And interestingly enough, the company's slippery Murano crossover bagged an almost 30-percent increase over last year. This is particularly curious in light of the plunge taken by the Infiniti FX, which nosedived 35.6-percent. Some of the steep drop-off may be attributable higher-end marques enduring notoriously fickle buyers (many with the wherewithal to purchase such vehicles demand the flavor of the month), but the automaker recently announced an unusually large price hike on the softroader as well. "The House That Bling Built," Infiniti's QX56 also sustained a big to its stern, with sales off 28.3-percent... likely a victim of sustained higher gas prices.

In fact, despite a solid showing from their new M45 sport sedan, Infiniti as a brand took it on the chin, suffering a 7.5-percent decrease versus last January. Other tough sells were the aging G35 sedan (which must now duking it out with a new BMW 3-Series and Lexus IS, among others).

Perhaps the strangest development for January was the surprisingly robust performance of Nissan's jurassic Sentra (no, not that one), which ground out a 19.9-percent increase. And lest anyone mention it, no... Nissan does not break out fleet sales.

In light of many of its most profitable models taking a drubbing, one might also expect that the automaker's profits took a tumble on the month. 

(Click on the link for model-by-model sales totals)

[Source: Nissan North America, Inc.]



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