By on April 9, 2015

2014 Nissan RogueIn 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.

best selling SUVs chartMoreover, 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 Cars.com suggests 32% of the Rogue’s sales tally is Rogue Select-derived.)

2014 Nissan Rogue SelectThe 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 GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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41 Comments on “Rogue Surge: Nissan’s Small CUV Continues Rise Toward The Top Of The Crossover Heap...”


  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Are they still selling the previous generation as a fleet only vehicle?

    We compared the CRV, RAV4, and last gen Rogue for my mom. The Rogue was the most boring, least attractive, and the only one discounted. We saved about four thousand. It’s a perfect rental, and I thought making it a fleet car was brilliant. Since she keeps cars twent years, it actually seemed to be the most likely to last due to simplicity.

    If the new one is more equivalent in look and features, that’s going to force them all to be more competitive. Good for all.

    • 0 avatar
      blockmachining

      Way to go Nissan. American Honda is definitely feeling the heat. Let’s keep Honda in our rear view mirror. Yes, Honda’s CRV sold more than the Rogue; however, its just a matter of time before it is no longer the sales leader. The new Maxima is awesome and should sell extremely well. You can definitely see the Infiniti DNA in the new Maxima.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Mmm fanboi much lol.

        Its not a matter of time for the Rogue to surpass the CR-V at all. CR-V is also up 5,500 units, and all CR-V sales are individual current gen, not a mix of new and old and private and fleet. Rogue’s real sales are in the 44K range.

        Maxima won’t sell well… large sedans, be they mainstream, luxury or anything in between, are a dying breed with sales generally down 50% from peaks. Barring the Juke and Z there’s no standout in Nissan’s lineup. Heck Juke and Z included Im not sure there’s a new Nissan I would buy over the competition. And this is coming from a 2 time Maxima and 1 time 350Z owner.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Let me clean your glasses for you on that Maxima. With the exception of the side picture, Nissan’s designers need to put the comic books down and turn the action movies off. I would label the Maxima’s journey “Horrid” over the past 15 years….

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Nissan is a perfect match for KMart shoppers.

        Nissan products are sold on price and they show it.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      We test-drove the last-gen Rogue and the Altima at the end of 2013. Boring is the first word that comes to my mind, too – for both vehicles.

      Downright soporific, in fact. And too slow to get out of their own way.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Not fleet only, they sell the Rogue Select as a regular retail car. It starts $3K cheaper than the new Rogue.

  • avatar
    Brumus

    Have any CVT issues cropped up with these, particularly in AWD versions?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I don’t have good credit but I need a new car. Hmmmmmm…

    Dodge
    Nissan
    Kia

    Here…I…come!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You gotta stop by the Mitsubishi dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      Liger

      I worked at a dodge store for a couple years and they sure do love their rats. A rat is typically the most profitable of all customers (if they make their first payment). And it’s a great way to sell a dodge stratus, since it books out so well; and since you have bad credit your going to take what you get. What are you other options? A buy here pay here lot? Were selling you a 1 year old ex rental dodge stratus for only $499 a month with $1000 down and a low low interest rate of only 28%. At a bhph lot your looking at a much older car for more money. Rat’s make dealers rich with second chance financing.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Congratulations Nissan Rogue! With one major and one minor exception, I found the European version a thoroughly pleasant place to be last year. The US version suffers neither of the drawbacks that plagued my experience.

  • avatar
    formula m

    I think due to Honda making the switch to a cvt transmission in the CRV for 2015, has made the Rogue a more attractive option when cross-shopped. If your going to go with a cvt anyway then the more stylish car with a company of almost 10yrs experience with cvt’s is to be seriously considered. Escape is junk and too small, GM’s twins are full of cheap plastic inside and older design, RAV4 isn’t very nice to look at…

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Hmm. That’s two posts now in this thread that read suspiciously like manufacturer’s plants.

      Speaking as a former satisfied Nissan owner, the Renault-era iron is cheap junk that’s tanked in reliability surveys.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I’m not sure how the Escape is “junk,” or small. It has the exact same wheelbase as the Rogue and is 4 inches shorter than it. It lines right up along other vehicles in the segment in terms of size.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      “of almost 10 yrs experience “experience doesn’t cound if you always fail.
      10 years of CVT with failures and rubberband feel isn’t as much as 2 years of flawles CVT sales.

      Google pathfinder and CVT or any other Nissan. Even 2014 or even some 2015 models with huge and plentyful problems.

      Dodge had CVT almost 10 years ago, and i think some sort of Saturn as well. do you mean they make good CVTs based on that fact?

      • 0 avatar
        Josh_Howard

        Google any car maker about any part and you’ll find problems. Nissan’s CVT failure rate is lower than a traditional automatic. There WERE some cvts that had issues in ’13. I bought a ’13 Altima and have had zero issues. I’ve kept an eye on the forums. There are no more failures than with any other brand. The myth that the CVT is bad and needs to die. CVTs are proven. If you don’t like how they feel, don’t buy them. Mine drives just fine. The rentals I’ve driven were just fine. The loaners I’ve used were just fine. The Nissans I’ve sold were just fine. Am I Nissan biased? Sure. Know why? Because I know enough about those CVTs to put my money where my mouth is and buy one instead of just badmouthing stuff I know nothing about on the internet. Googling manufacturer problems is like Web MD-ing your cold: you’ll always end up having cancer.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Not really. Nissan’s cvt’s are usually found to be quite inferior to Honda’s in actual reviews.

      Nissan’s cvt’s usually are found to be worst in class.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    It may be selling well, but research will show that it is, from a quality standpoint, not the best option out there. There have been numerous complaints logged already with this redesign.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      agree. Yes, it LOOKS the part, but still suffers badly in many important daily things.
      My neighbor says his has started making squeaking inside (and around the sunroof) noises and the MPG is nowhere near what he was expecting. Plus it is a drag off the line in everyday driving. I would really get to hate this.
      But it looks marvelous!

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Subaru Forester?
    Really? That low in the purchase chain?
    I would have chosen it as THE best if I hadn’t picked the Escape for its better engine and ride quality.
    But ever since I still find my self pining for the perfect view and wagon structure, which is, IMO the best designed look.
    And there it sits at the bottom???????

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      People outside Subaru’s core geographic areas (New England, Colorado, PNW) still see Subarus as crunchy cars for gay vegan hippies.

      I agree the Forester is one of the strongest cars in the segment, especially for those who carry a lot of stuff or drive in bad weather.

      And if you get the turbo it has the second-best engine in the segment behind only Jeep’s mini-Pentastar.

      • 0 avatar
        tsoden

        Funny, people still see the Toyota Prius as a vegan hippy car (gay I am not sure)… :)

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        mmmm…not sure about the “gay” thing.
        But certainly granola eaters.
        But I need to argue with your engine position. The 2.0 ecoboost is a better engine. Drove them both. A lot.

        And I agree 10000 percent with sportyaccordy. The interiors is poor. In fact, the test drive car as well as the one in the show room were battered with shoe prints all over the doors. Seems there is no way to get in and out without kicking the door each time.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Its a top 10 list – meaning there are dozens of CUVs that sell fewer.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Much of the country doesn’t want or need AWD. There are a lot of CR-Vs in my neighborhood. Not too many AWDs. Cars.com/Autotrader confirm (I live in the south). Plus the Forester is ugly and kind of cheap inside. The Legacy Outback is much more popular.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        AWD is awesome even in non-snow states. When we get our torrential downpours here in Houston, AWD is awesome. Even in dry conditions or light trails it pays off.

        I’m not real crazy about the Forrester front end, but overall the sight lines and driving experience are excellent. I opted for the Outback because it’s drive feel is more “premium” (based on the longer Legacy chassis), but the Forrester is a hell of a vehicle for $25-30k.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I wanted to like this. It’s a car I’d consider as masculine enough in a way that the CR-V and RAV4 simply are not. It’s storage space in the back is genius. But the reality is that I don’t like Nissan CVTs, and I don’t want to drive anything with a NA 4-cyl. These are fairly big cars. That leaves the Escape, which is tight inside, the Forester and the Cherokee in the non luxury space.

    I think you will see small v6s and turbo fours pop up across the segment.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “I think you will see small v6s and turbo fours pop up across the segment.”

      Kind of rehashing old history, no? It was a big deal when the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute came out in 2000 with an optional 200hp 3.0L V6. The transverse Sportage got the 2.7L V6, as did the new for 2001 Santa Fe. Currently, Escape, Forester, and Kia Sportage offer 4 cyl turbos.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Small V6s are DOA, a turbo 4 will culo blast them on most metrics.

      The real problem with a lot of these things is weight. Escape 2.0T is 3600-3800lbs, which is just too much for the 2.0T. It should be a 2.5T.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    Test drove several models while looking with a friend. We test drove the CX-5, the Forester, Escape, and new Rogue. Being an enthusist i liked driving the Escape best. Exterior looks i liked the CX-5 best, but hated the tiny sunroof and the way the gas pedal felt since it’s floor mounted. Forester? Neither cared for it. My buddy isn’t an enthusiat and he bought the Rogue. I do like the looks especially with the color blue he has and the tan/black inteior. But i hated driving it. Slow, not sporty handling at all, but i guess most people don’t care about that.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Rogue would be more interesting/competitive if Nissan added a turbo engine option (ala Forester XT).

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    I had a rental one of those at SLC, and the word “heap” is a pretty good description.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i think we’ve all heard this before

    one manufacturer who thinks they are ‘entry premium’ is beaten on sales figures by someone else and then suddenly the say the upstart won by too much fleet sales

    i dont dispute that fleet sales can dilute the brand but then these are average japanese brands we are talking about and fleet money is still money is it not?

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I’m curious to see if the Cherokee can crack the top 10. The Equinox is getting pretty long in the tooth.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    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.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    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.

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