Nissan Rogue Sales Are Exploding, And Nissan Doesn't Think The Rogue Sport Will Slow It Down

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
nissan rogue sales are exploding and nissan doesn t think the rogue sport will slow

In January 2017, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Honda CR-V.

In calendar year 2016, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Honda CR-V.

But in December 2016 and the preceding three months, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Nissan Rogue, sales of which rose to record November levels in 2016, record January levels last month, and all-time record levels of 40,477 units in December 2016.

Not the most powerful, refined, reliable, or dynamically competent, the Rogue is nevertheless Nissan’s most popular vehicle in America and a hugely consequential member of the SUV sector.

Yet the sheriff in town is wearing a new uniform, the Rogue is about to be joined by a new sibling, and 2017 is the second-generation Rogue’s fourth model year. Can Nissan continue to grow U.S. Rogue sales by more than 17 percent per month, and can Nissan make the Rogue America’s top-selling utility vehicle on a consistent basis?

Nissan is certainly giving it a shot. Nissan’s PR department declined when asked to comment on expectations for year-end volume in 2017, but it noted the Rogue’s start to the year as America’s second-ranked utility vehicle, only 500 units behind the Honda CR-V.

“We have three plants producing the Rogue now to meet the continue demand in this growing segment,” Nissan’s Josh Clifton, senior manager for corporate communications, told TTAC last week.

Nissan builds the Rogue in Smyrna, Tennessee, and also imports Rogues from Kyushu, Japan, and a Renault-Samsung plant in Busan, South Korea.


Of course, a comparison with the CR-V isn’t precisely apples-to-apples. While Honda shies away from selling vehicles to fleet, Nissan sold 19 percent of its vehicles to fleet buyers in 2016, according to Automotive News, up from 15 percent one year before. While Nissan’s retail demand was flat in 2016, the company’s fleet volume shot up 37 percent.

Nissan declined to comment on the Rogue’s fleet/retail mix. Granted, it was always Nissan’s intention to boost market share by enhancing its fleet volume.

In 2015, after being harshly critiqued by American Honda’s executive vice president John Mendel, Nissan North America boss Jose Munoz said, “Of course, we need to be active in fleet. In fleet, you have a lot of subsegments.” At that point, Munoz said that profitable commercial fleet sales were growing while Nissan’s sales to daily rental fleets were in decline.

Nearly a year later, however, Nissan’s Josh Clifton told Automotive News the company was not straying from its strategy of maintaining a “healthy balance.” He noted, “We expect our fleet delivery curve to flatten back to our normal running rate of 16-17 percent for the full calendar year.” Based on Automotive News’ reports, the curve did not flatten back.


The degree to which these overarching figures pertain to the Rogue, which operates in a high-demand category at an attractive price point, is not fully known. The 2017 Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid AWD, for example, has a base price of $28,530 including destination and handling, but Nissan is currently offering a $1,500 discount.

That undercuts the 2017 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid by more than $2,000.

Clifton told TTAC, “While we don’t discuss specifics on incentives, we remain comparable to the industry in the segment.”


Perhaps the vehicle that can put the most pressure on the Rogue isn’t the CR-V, RAV4, Escape, or Equinox but rather a new-to-America Nissan.

Clearly believing in the strength of the Rogue name, the Qashqai will be called the Rogue Sport when it arrives in the United States. Smaller than the Rogue but bigger than the Juke, could the Rogue Sport cannibalize Rogue sales? Nissan doesn’t think so.

“We think Rogue Sport is a different buyer and we believe the Rogue Sport will attract new customers — especially city-dwelling younger buyers — with its sporty appearance and state-of-the-art technology,” Nissan’s Clifton told TTAC.

On its own, the Rogue is already generating more than half of Nissan’s light truck volume and roughly three-in-ten overall Nissan sales. In January, the Rogue generated more sales than the Altima and Versa combined, America’s third-best-selling midsize car and top-selling subcompact car, respectively. Year-over-year, monthly Rogue volume has risen in 17 of the last 18 months. Annual volume has risen every year since the nameplate was launched in 2007.

Regardless of the means Nissan employs to stir up such significant, consistent growth, the Rogue Sport will have to be pretty special to slow the Rogue down.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Join the conversation
2 of 37 comments
  • Akear The Prius outsells all GM EVs combined, which is really not saying much.
  • Akear The sad truth is the only vehicle FCA sold that broke the 200,000 sales barrier was the 200. I rented one and found it impressive. It is certainly better than the Renegade. At this point I would buy a used 200 over a Renegade. Who in their right mind would buy a Renegade?
  • Akear I just realized 80% of these EV vehicles producers are going to be liquidated within the next five years. It is not possible to survive by selling only 3000 vehicles a year. This reminds me of the bust of the late 90s and early 2000s. Those who don't learn from history repeat it.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I drove a rental Renegade a few years back. Felt the engine (TIgerShark) was ready was ready to pop out from under the hood. Very crude!! Sole purpose was CAFE offsets. Also drove a V6 Cherokee which was very nice and currently out of production. Should be able to scoop up one at a fair deal.🚗🚗🚗