Rogue Surge: Nissan's Small CUV Continues Rise Toward The Top Of The Crossover Heap

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
rogue surge nissans small cuv continues rise toward the top of the crossover heap

In smashing its all-time record set just seven months ago by 6000 units, the Nissan Rogue became America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle in March 2015.

Year-over-year, U.S. sales of the Rogue jumped 41% to 27,418 in March. Rogue volume is up 28% to 64,486 through the first-quarter of 2015, making the Rogue America’s fifth-best-selling utility vehicle this year, on par with its position at this stage last year and one position north of its year-end ranking in 2014.

But the Rogue, somewhat unusual because it’s available with a third row of seating, has quickly narrowed the gap. At this point in 2014, the Rogue trailed the top-selling utility vehicle in the U.S., Ford’s Escape, by 20,857 units. In 2015, the Rogue trails the top-selling Honda CR-V by fewer than 8700 units.

Moreover, the Rogue’s March tally was second-best among SUVs and crossovers and only 200 units shy of the CR-V, which sat atop the leaderboard for the seventh consecutive month. In a utility vehicle sector which produced a 7% year-over-year improvement in the month of March, the CR-V and Escape both lost sales and market share and combined for a 6% decline.

(Note: “Rogue” is an all-encompassing term that includes both the first and second-generation small crossovers. In a sense, this is not terribly different compared with the overlap of any car: the Toyota Camry over the course of last fall and winter; the Ford F-150 right now. However, the fact that Nissan markets both the Rogue and Rogue Select isn’t just a perfectly timed production overlap to keep inventory levels high in the short-term. The Rogue’s presence is Nissan’s medium-term plan. Nissan doesn’t break down the totals of Rogue new and old, but a translation of inventory results from suggests 32% of the Rogue’s sales tally is Rogue Select-derived.)

The Rogue’s year-over-year increase was the nameplate’s eighth consecutive and the 14th in the last 16 months. On an annual basis, the Rogue has always posted improved sales, rising 165% between its first full year (2008) to 199,199 U.S. sales in 2014.

But the Nissan is competing in an increasingly challenging market, one in which the typically better-selling CR-V, Escape, Toyota RAV4, and Chevrolet Equinox all set U.S. sales records in 2014, as well. And as part of the Nissan lineup, the Rogue has its detractors. In a discussion with reporters at the New York International Auto Show that ended with John Mendel saying, “”This is probably the last interview that PR is going to let me do,” the Honda senior VP went off on Nissan’s increasingly impressive sales numbers. “They want to juice their business by 28 to 30 percent fleet every month. That’s their business but then don’t compare it to individual customers who pay their own money for individual cars.”

The Nissan brand has outsold the Honda brand in each of 2015’s first three months. The Detroit News quotes a Nissan spokesman, David Reuter, who denied the 28-30% figure and offered up 17% as the more realistic number. Regardless, Mendel’s insistence that, “I don’t really give a damn about Nissan,” may include slightly too much protest to be completely believable.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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  • Ceipower Ceipower on Apr 10, 2015

    A few haters out there just have to have their say....I own two Nissans and neither has given me any trouble. That said I don't put my expectations above their limits. Some cars go faster than others , some corner better, some are quieter. So what.Every Automobile maker has build some models they'd just as soon forget. Ferrari , Toyota , Ford , GM , Honda, Hyundai, Subaru , Chrysler, Porsche and so on. AS for CVT's , they seem to be a big part of the automobiles future , so man up and stop whining about it. Apparently they have improved each progressive year....kind of like most things do if done right.

  • TOTitan TOTitan on Apr 10, 2015

    Nissan has always been a great engine builder. I have a 04 Titan with their 5.6L V8. It is DOHC, all aluminum, has 6 bolt mains, holds 7 1/2 quarts of oil, and after 11 years and 140K miles it uses just 1/4 quart between 10K oil changes. As far as the rest of the truck goes, since new Ive replaced the tires and battery twice and upgraded the front brakes to the 14" disc's that Nissan started using on the Titan in 08. Thats it....nothing else has ever malfunctioned and that cab is still tight and rattle free. Would I buy another one? Hell yes but the way this one is holding up it probably wont be necessary.

    • See 1 previous
    • Dave M. Dave M. on Apr 11, 2015

      Personally the Titan is one of the best looking trucks out there...I surprised it wasn't more successful in the market place. The upcoming '16...not so much in the looks department....

  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
  • Brett Woods 2023 Corvette base model.
  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states
  • Poltergeist Make sure you order the optional Dungdai fire suppression system.