By on December 27, 2017

2018 Nissan Altima

What was the last car you rented? If numbers reported by The Wall Street Journal are accurate (and we have no reason to believe they are not), chances are it was probably a Nissan.

Why’s that? Well, flying in the face of everything that’s ever been taught in the popular How Not to Scupper Resale Values 101 class,  Nissan has been pumping the rental market full of Rogues and Altimas, to the tune of nearly 300,000 units in 2017. That’s the most of any automaker and 10 percent more than the traditional offender in this field: General Motors.

It’s a startling about-face in activity in an age when most manufacturers are running away from the rental market as if it is an especially virulent leper. Honda’s rental fleet is said to account for less than 5 percent of total sales. Same at Subaru. Even GM, a company known for producing vehicles specifically for fleets, is projected to see its retail/rental ratio drop below 10 percent for the first time in ages.

According to Polk/IHS Automotive,  of the top 10 rental vehicles to enter fleets in 2017, four of them were Nissans. The following numbers are good through the end of October:

Fleet Sales through Nov '17

Judy Wheeler, sales honcho at Nissan, told WSJ that the company has boosted rental sales to 18 percent of total deliveries, which is up from about 14 percent in 2015 and far higher than the industry average. She went on to say that rentals are a “very profitable business for us,” thanks to Nissan’s practice of furnishing fleets with well-equipped models rather than the traditional proletariat-spec machines that used to haunt the nightmares of business travellers across the nation.

Owners of Nissan products should take this information to heart when they receive a lowball offer from their dealer at trade-in time. History, not to mention the laws of supply and demand, virtually guarantee the scuppering of values towards machines which rely heavily on fleet sales. The next time an Altima owner sees a tiny trade value as part of the four-square with which they are presented, they should feel free to blame the company whose badge is on the nose of their sedan.

Continuing the narrative, WSJ goes on to quote a senior exec at Enterprise, the rental company which promises to “Pick You Up” — unless you’re at a deserted St. John’s International Airport at two in the morning in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving one to brave the wintry elements on their own. This is purely a hypothetical situation, of course. It could’ve also been a hypothermia situation, but I digress.

Anyways, the rental company’s talking head naturally bills the practice of selling to fleets as a Very Good Thing. In addition to pontificating that the rental market is a way to leave an impression on customers who may be shopping for a car, Kurt Kohler goes on to say, “It doesn’t require expensive retail advertising, and is a guaranteed source of business.” Yes, it is … right up until the point when it isn’t.

For further insight on this practice, I encourage Mr. Kohler to look up Brand Dilution on Wikipedia. He will find it right next to the entry for Coach purses.

Year-to-date, sales at the entirety of Nissan Motor Company (including Infiniti) is 1,455,238 units out of a 15,922,106 U.S. industry total. Simple division places market share at 9.1 percent. Taking the reported number of 281,167 fleet units into account, basic math teaches us that Nissan Group’s retail market share could actually be somewhere in the neighborhood of 7.3 percent.

Subtracting Infiniti, the Nissan brand itself sold 1,318.202 vehicles. Making the reasonable assumption that 95 percent of the company’s reported 281,167 fleet sales were Nissans, a total of 1,051,094 retail sales puts actual retail market share south of 7.0 percent.

Not long ago, Carlos Ghosn set out a sales timetable for the company, decreeing a 10-percent market share. The year deemed acceptable for reaching that target? 2017.

[Image: Nissan]

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113 Comments on “Don’t be Gentle, It’s a Rental: Nissan Boosts U.S. Sales Numbers by Flooding America’s Fleets...”


  • avatar
    SSJeep

    This is a terrible business strategy that has already been tried by GM and Ford, and the long term costs of cuddling up with rental car companies far outweigh the short term gain.

    I rent cars often and end up in Nissan rentals fairly regularly. They are very highly stripped down base models (LED stereo with no backup camera) that are always burdened with the CVT and are absolutely no fun to drive.

    When these start hitting the sale lots after 36k of hard mileage, anyone else who purchased one of these vehicles new will get slapped with even worse depreciation. And they wont be returning to the Nissan showroom.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The ridiculously low Nissan leases around here coupled with them being rental queens will absolutely kill any residual value. People love those Altimas though, especially the backward baseball cap crowd who seem to think it’s a performance car. Uggh.

  • avatar
    make_light

    This is depressing. Remember when the ’03 Altima was the feistiest thing in it’s class? I also thought the 07-12 Altima was very handsome and a solid upgrade over it’s predecessor.

    I still think Nissan isn’t terrible overall. The latest Versa was (and is) an embarrassing effort, but not everything in the lineup is a dud. I’d rather have a Rogue than a RAV-4. The Murano is pretty ugly now but still plush and comfy.

    Every automaker has it’s weak spots. Honda HR-V is slow and noisy. Toyota Sequoia and Sienna hopelessly outdated. I don’t know, I just don’t think Nissan deserves as much vitriol as it gets around here.

    • 0 avatar
      WhatsMyNextCar

      While I don’t believe there are any “bad” new cars for sale in the U.S., Nissan makes among the least appealing lineup of vehicles. The Altima is outclassed by every other car in its class. Same goes for the Sentra. They spent next to no money on the Frontier since its 2005 debut. The big NV is full of hard, cheap plastic and doesn’t make good use of space.

      Nissan deserves the ire. They’re peddling crap.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        I’d definitely call them flat-out bad, but you’re right, the Altima and Sentra are easily the worst in their classes. Considering the Altima from 8 years ago was one of the best in its class, it’s particularly disheartening.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        I don’t have a ton of experience with the NV, but hard, cheap plastic is pretty standard for the class, and although the setup isn’t space-efficient, it seems like it’d be easier to access the engine for maintenance purposes. Not like it’s a hot seller, but it seems fine for what it is.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Attention KMart shoppers, you ride is spelled N I S S A N.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Maybe this is why every newish Altima on the road is a menace. The person driving it is just unfamiliar with the car.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Our neighbours across the street replaced their 2008 Accord with a 2016 Altima recently (I was told that they got a good deal on it, surprise!).

      The woman that drives it is unaware of how turn signals are activated.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    No one is working this week.

    Well, those with jobs in restaurants and general retail are, mostly.

    Anyways, I am bored and shall regale a fleeting TTAC audience with a very short tale of my (many – maybe 8 or 9 in the last 3 years) Nissan rentals.

    None of the Nissan rental vehicles were good in terms of quality, aesthetics, interior materials, driving characteristics or in any other significant way.

    Nissan is THE NEW DIAMOND STAR MITSUBISHI MOTORS, for real.

    Nissan has worse quality, overall, and worse interior design, technology and material quality than either Hyundai, or Kia, and by a surprisingly large margin (I also suspect that Hyundai and Kia will be more reliable, overall, than Nissan).

    Three of the worse vehicles I’ve ever rented (or have been stuck with were the Nissan Altima, Nissan Rogue, and Nissan Armada).

    As a bonus, Nissan dealerships are as sleazy as any (which says A LOT, given the predominant steadiness of most manufacturers dealership network), and Nissans are hideous in terms of exterior design.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Festive Kwanzaa and all the rest,

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Very interesting chart. Will have to remember that the next time members of the B&B are singing the praises of Toyota and Nissan cars while dismissing Fusion and Malibu as nothing but rental fodder.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Well, the Malibu was rental fodder until a year or two ago, GM admitted it themselves. And there’s still a greater percentage of Fusions in rental fleets than any other midsizer, other than the Queen Altima.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        While the Malibu may have had higher fleet %’s, the Camry (as well as the Corolla and Yaris) have long been (rental) fleet queens.

        The Camry (for some time now) has been near or at the top in total # of sales to fleet.

        Back when the previous gen Camry was new and the Malibu and Fusion older, Toyota still sent more Camrys to rental fleets than did GM or Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I’d expect the Camry to be number #2 in the highest percentage of midsize sales to daily rental fleets by the end of the year. The reported numbers are only through the end of October and Toyota has pulled out all the stops to ensure that they finish the year with the Camry wearing the best selling car crown. Nov was up significantly and I bet much of that was daily rental fleets and I’m sure Dec will be similar as a sure fire way to buy that title.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The only people simultaneously doing both of those things on this website either stopped doing it years ago or have been invented by a persecution complex.

      I cannot remember the last time I read a comment arguing the Camry is a better car than the Fusion because the Fusion is a fleet queen. And I’m not sure anyone has claimed that the current Altima is better than the Fusion for any reason whatsoever.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    I don’t think that the majority of Altima or Rogue buyers understand the nature of depreciation and what it does to resale value. And even when they do, that’s a long term concern, while the short term concern is getting into a vehicle with a monthly payment that they can afford.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Option 1: Pay a lot monthly, with low depreciation

      Option 2: Pay little monthly with high depreciation

      In the end it’s a wash. Only question is do you want to pay me now, or pay me later?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        When I’m paying down an auto loan I actually go online and check periodically if it the vehicle is worth more than what I currently owe on it. As long as I’m “ahead” – I’m happy.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        I_like_stuff…….. I agree completely. I explained that to my bf last month when looking at a new Honda Civic and a new Hyundai Elantra. That the Civic was $1,500 more than the Elantra but he’d probably get more than $2,500 more on the Civic come trade in time. But he was more concerned with how much he had to spend now, not later. But then the Hyundai dealer slapped $3,000 in rebates on the hood and my whole point was moot after that.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      I agree.

      People buy Nissans because they are cheap. People buy Nissans because they are cheap. People buy Nissans because they are cheap. People buy Nissans because they are cheap.People buy Nissans because they are cheap. People buy Nissans because they are cheap. People buy Nissans because they are cheap. People buy Nissans because they are cheap.

      They also get Nissans because they are credit-impaired.

      If branding means anything, Nissan should be happy to be labeled “generic”. But they’re really worse than that.

      And like bad money drives out good money, Nissan crap is hurting the car market by pushing better cars, like the Mazda6. And that, I believe, is their plan.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        An example of the Mazda 6 has been made vs Nissan manufactured vehicles. The Mazda 6 is a fine handling vehicle equivalent in size and class to a Nissan Altima and arguably better looking. Please note that the Nissan Altima is significantly less costly than the 6 at each trim level especially with the renowned Nissan dealer discounting. Most buyers of vehicles of this size/class vehicle are more discriminating about price vs standard features and purchase a vehicle accordingly. Nissan dealers much hungrier for business than Mazda dealers and are much, much more willing to put cash on the hood to make the sale and will deal with most anyone regardless of credit score. There are more Nissan dealers spread across the country with many in more visible and less sketchy locations than many Mazda dealers. Nissan is more than willing to produce Altimas for rental fodder. I believe that Nissan’s plan is to push vehicles out the door in large numbers regardless of the end buyer for profit and nothing else and, guess what? It works. I’d say that Nissan is doing pretty well with their sales strategy. Struggling marks such as the Mazda 6 (which seems to sell better outside the US) might take note of Nissan’s plan and perhaps copy this strategy if there are plans to increase volume – Ford with the Fusion certainly has in order to maintain some volume. Advertising, pricing, and promoting mid-sized sedans as an “up market” brand from dealerships located down near Cracktown at the intersection of Needle Rd. and Bindle St. ain’t gonna do it.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I totally believe it. Last few times I rented a car, I could not believe all the Nissans. I figured it was the particular company I rented from but seems like its not just Alamo or Enterprise.

    In response to earlier poster, I have found that Nissan dealerships are the most willing to bargain of any make in my opinion.

    If you like the cars, and there is plenty to like in my opinion, its a pretty nice option to have. Fairly stylish, reliable, well appointed and cheap vehicles. Just make sure you go into the transaction with the knowledge that it is a fast depreciating product and bargain accordingly.

  • avatar
    WhatsMyNextCar

    I will politely decline a Nissan if offered to me by the rental agency. Unless it’s a new Armada – that’s nice, albeit inefficient.

  • avatar
    MBella

    This is interesting. I like most people have not been paying much attention to Nissan’s latest offerings. I know they get complaints for some of their dated interiors and infotainment. The question when looking for a used car however becomes value. Will a Nissan vehicle at higher than normal depreciation rates provide any extra value? My last and Nissan was a 2000 Sentra 5-speed that was a decent little car. It wasn’t great at anything but did it’s thing pretty well over a couple of years.

  • avatar
    dror

    “In addition to pontificating that the rental market is a way to leave an impression on customers who may be shopping for a car”

    The last time I got an Altima, I was sure I will refuse one in the future !

    And here are some vehicles I did like as a rental:

    Dodge Durango
    Toyota Avalon
    Toyota Camry
    Kia Ceed diesel 6 speed manual in Iceland
    Mazda 3
    Ford Mustang
    Ford Explorer (except for driving position)

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Is it just me or are rentals staying in the field longer and longer? My last 3 rentals were 43K miles (Avis), 32K miles (Budget) and 28K miles (Hertz). Used to be by the time a car hit 15-20K they were retired.

    So anyway, the Hertz rental was a Nissan Sentra. Pretty barebones model. Aside from cruise control, didn’t have any options. The thing was making all sorts of strange sounds, rattles galore. I didn’t really care too much since I drove maybe 50 miles total for the rental. But I was shocked at how poor quality it was.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      I’m a National man myself, but occasionally rent from Hertz given their larger footprint. I’ve always found Hertz to keep cars significantly longer than other agencies. With National, it’s rare to see something with more than 12K on the odometer.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    Ditch the CVTs and maybe you’d sell more to regular customers. Nothing is quite as hateful as an Altima CVT. well…. maybe a Jeep Liberty 3 speed auto.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      I’d say 90% of the car buying public has no idea what CVT is, or could tell you the difference between driving a car with it and one without it back to back on a test drive.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Nissan CVT is pretty good. I have driven manuals most my life and to be honest, an automatic is an automatic to me. Never once have I said to myself, “Feel those buttery smooth ratios of this 6 speed auto”. Its all the same provided NVH is sorted out. There is a lot of CVT’s out there (Subaru, Honda, Nissan, etc) and people don’t seem to mind because you don’t notice a good transmission doing its job regardless of whether it has fixed ratios or not. You only notice the bad ones.

      • 0 avatar
        jfk-usaf

        The success of the latest CRV probably proves your point. I’ve just had a couple of bad driving experiences in Altima rentals. Not a fan.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        but Nissan makes a lousy CVT.

        there are decent CVT’s, Nissan doesn’t have one

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    TTAC comments are killing me today, must not have enough desk work to do today. I own an ‘11 Quest with 182k miles and a ‘17 Versa with 2785 miles on it. The Quest has been and continues to be a great vehicle, and due to poor sales and marketing Nissan killed it.

    Granted, the ‘17 Versa isn’t a luxury car, but with the 5-speed stock and nimble handling, it is a fine little four-door with more legroom than some large cars.

    Easy to pile on to Nissan but compared to GM and Ford and others, they are doing just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      The question is, how much did the generally undesirable Versa actually cost you? Was the Nissan dealer willing to almost pay you to take it off their hands?

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Nissan was basically bankrupt when Renault saved them.

        Better had Nissan demised.

      • 0 avatar
        punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

        Funny, for the $11900 I paid for the car out the door it does very well. Much better than anything for $2-3000 more cash. It was exactly was I was looking for, an extra car for city use with an occasional country drive. Easy to pile on to the Nissan hate machine, but being we have a few Nissan plants where I live here in Tennessee… let’s just say keep your Nissan hatred online, in real life you might not be so happy shooting off the mouth here in Tennessee.

        • 0 avatar
          CincyDavid

          I rented a Versa sedan in FL last year and was amazed at the enormous back seat. Overall I was impressed with it, and for the low prices they sell for around here, a Versa could be the perfect el-cheapo commuter car.

          The one I drove had poor directional stability on the interstate but I’ll attribute that to being a rental that needed an alignment.

          It’s also the only Nissan I’ve ever rented. I only rent a couple of times a year, almost always from Alamo and have no complaints about their fleet.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          Hmmm… I could say the same thing about my part of the midwest, but that would make me a troglodyte because I’m worried about my part of the country…

          LOL…

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Actually, compared to GM and Ford, Nissan is doing WORSE.

      GM’s retail sales are up and they are making a mint on their pick-ups, SUVs and crossovers.

      As for the Versa (sedan), it once again made Consumer Report’s 10 Least Satisfying Cars list (as did the Sentra).

      Such a shame – decades ago, the Sentra SE-R was seen a the “poor man’s 3 Series,” but those days are long gone.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      My bf just got rid of a ’12 Versa sedan with the CVT. What an awful car, but I can see a manual trans completely changing the personality of it.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    I rented cars 29 times this past year, for 61 total rental days. Most of what I saw available were Hyundai, Nissan, Dodge/Chrysler, Ford in that order. The Nissans and Hyuandai’s were typically stripped low trim cars while the Dodge and Ford’s tended to be pretty well equipped trim levels. As a group, the Hyundais and Nissan were crap cars to drive.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    Have only rented two cars in recent history so I can’t give accurate impressions of the state of America’s rental fleets.
    One of them was a new (meaning never rented before) Nissan. Altima or Sentra? Drove it around with no dash lights. My wife kept saying I had screwed it up somehow with pushing wrong buttons or that I somehow didn’t know how to turn them on correctly. When I returned it I mentioned “how do I turn the dash lights on’ to the lot person. The lot person tried to turn them on and couldn’t and then said “a lot of these Nissans have come in lately with bad light fuses, you aren’t the first to complain about it”.

    • 0 avatar
      punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

      Somebody at their pre-delivery inspection (PDI) hasn’t been doing their job. There is a storage/transit mode on the fuse block that must be reset.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I don’t mind the Altima as a rental. It’s reasonably comfortable for four and gets better fuel economy than anything else on the rental aisle with a decent back seat. But I’d never own one because it’s just too boring.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I remain impressed with a few of the Nissans – this summer we rented a Rogue SL and I was very impressed with its comfort and room for 5 with luggage over 2 weeks and 2200 miles. It also got 30+ mpg and felt tight, even after 25k rental miles. I’d certainly consider one personally.

    A few months ago I had a Maxima rental for a weekend – again it was comfortable, powerful enough, roomy and well built. I’m not a sedan guy but it impressed me.

    Finally, if I could put my arms around 16 mpgs I’d be all over an Armada. It’s a reasonably priced Land Cruiser.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Had a rental Rogue in October. It seemed fine but I’m not a CUV person at all so I really didn’t pay attention. Then had a horrible flat and all that was left was a Frontier. I actually kinda liked it and started looking into them – didn’t seem to be many bargains, new or used.

    Was surprised at the amount of Camrys.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>Was surprised at the amount of Camrys.<<

      which is why Honda says the Accord is the best selling car, retail. For like, most of the last 30 years.

      And w/ the superiority of the 2018 Accord, you better bet Toyota will be matching Nissan for KMart pricing to move the unfortunate Camry.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I too am concerned regarding the longterm durability of a CVT. However Nissan has more experience with them than most other manufacturers and therefore ‘should’ have most of the bugs worked out. And increasingly other manufacturers are switching to CVT transmissions.

    The Rogue we have is particularly commodious for back seat passengers. Has a quiet, comfortable ride for its class. And the front seats are exceedingly comfortable for someone with my build (or similar). However the heater seems to be underperformng, and the switches for the door locks and windows are placed uncomfortably.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      actually, Nissan is notorious for CVT problems

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Arthur, I think you are right to be concerned about Nissan’s CVT. Problems are now showing up in Consumer Reports data and it is a very expensive failure. I wouldn’t own one outside of the powertrain warranty.

      The CVT knocked the Accord off of our list. I trust Honda to implement this technology more reliably than Nissan, but they royally messed up on a traditional automatic of their own design so I wasn’t going to take it on faith.

      • 0 avatar
        punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

        Our ‘11 Quest CVT began giving us issues at 168k and we were given a choice of either $3000 or a new van. The CVT didn’t actually fail but would sometimes lag a little longer than it should. We just put new Bridgestones and brakes on it and it ran very well and despite its accumulation of about 33k miles a year, it didn’t look it’s age, especially considering our then three kids’ abuse, (now four) it had taken. We looked at the Odyssey and the Sienna. Ody’s are top of the line, but to get our level of equipment we’d be looking at 45k new for the Ody and the Sienna was cheap inside.

        Plus no payment which is also nice.

        So we put a new CVT in it and are at a Happy 182k miles now and still love our Nissan.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Your transmission lasted longer than an early aughts Odyssey, so your Nissan was well above the low water mark set by Honda in that regard. However, I would have a difficult time loving a vehicle that forced me into a major drivetrain repair equaling the trade-in value, and Nissan’s CVTs seem to be failing long before 168K for a growing number of owners.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Yeah in 2015 the bf’s CVT went completely out at 76,000 miles on his ’12 Versa. He was so soured on Nissans and CVT’s after that he’s now driving an ’18 Elantra with a traditional torque converter trans.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    As for the depreciation issue with rentals, in the past year I can recall off the top of my head having a Camry rental, a Ford Fusion, a Buick Regal Turbo Sport (which I really liked driving), a Mustang, a Caddilac CT6, Dodge Charger, Hyundai Elantra and Volco XC90. And a bunch of others I can’t remember. I rent cars very often in case you can’t tell. The one missing manufacturer I think was Honda.

    Point is, looks like every manufacturer is selling cars to rental agencies. If they all do the rental thing, then no specific manufacturer will be any worse off, depreciation wise, for doing so.

  • avatar
    EAF

    From a wrenching perspective; I don’t like VQs, SRs, MRs, QAs, RBs, KAs or any other Nissan tractor engine. I’ve never worked on a GTR but I’d suspect more of the same.

    I would say Nissan quality is sandwiched somewhere between Volkswagen & Zastava Auto. They manufacture junk that is only worthy if purchased for many thousands below market.

  • avatar

    Nissan has gone from darling mainstream performance car to garbage I’d be embarrassed to be seen driving in a mere generation and a half. Bravo.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I still like the Frontier Pro-4x.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      I’d say that it’s been longer than that.

      When was the last (above avg. for the segment) Sentra?

      The B13 (1990-95)?

      The B12 Sentra (1985-1990) had the SE-R variant that was fun to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        It was the B13 that had the memorable SE-R. I don’t know if the B12 had an SE-R variant but if someone is talking about wanting an old SE-R (I’m looking for one that doesn’t look like the first owner lived in Kabul), they almost certainly want a B13 model.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          My bad.

          You’re correct, it was the B13 (the 2 look so similar, it threw me off).

          Now, Nissan gives us the Sentra Nismo which isn’t much better than the Sentra SR turbo and has less power than an Elantra Sport.

          http://driving.ca/hyundai/elantra/reviews/comparison/car-comparison-2017-hyundai-elantra-sport-vs-nissan-sentra-nismo

          The Nismo version of the Sentra should really go up against the likes of the i30N, much less the Civic Type R.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I hate to stereotype about entire groups of car owners but if any group is going to get hit by this kind of thing, Nissan owners are probably the least likely to get hurt.

    I’ve taken to calling the Nissans in the area around me “Subprime Rockets.” The drivers tend to be low income and beat the living hell out of their cars, driving the filthy grime covered things, putting it mildly, aggressively.

    My suspicion is a lot of them won’t even get through the payment period without a repo or major accident, or both. And even when they do, the cars have got to be so trashed that they’re not going to be worth anything anyway.

    There are probably some very responsible Nissan owners who take care of their cars and drive responsibly. I feel for them. But my experience is that most Nissan drivers are just of the type where this isn’t going to matter all that much.

  • avatar

    My last rental car was Buick Verano which I actually enjoyed except interior did not feel premium. But before that I had three Altima rentals in a row for total 2 months. So I had driven ALtimas long enough to not like it. Only good thing I can say about Altima is that it had very good gas mileage. Before that I also rented Maxima and it was the worst rental car I ever drove. Driving Maxima was like riding whale and interior quality was revolting.

  • avatar
    fireballs76

    I don’t mind our leased ‘16 Altima 3.5SL. To be honest it’s a rocket ship! Surprisingly get a lot of compliments on it, but the V6’s do stand out to people who know cars I guess. The CVT has come a long way since our 1st lease of a 2010. I am aware though it’s some ridiculous figure of only 5% of Altima’s are made with the 6cyl.

  • avatar
    Ben T Spanner

    Consumer Reports reently ranked the Nissan Versa Note as best in its class for reliability. I have rented a Note twice. Its a small car but I fit. ( I don’t fit in a Fit) The climate controls can be worked with gloves. Other than that its a cheap rental

    I also fit in an Altima; but why pay more when i fit in a Note?

    My Wife’s Niece with trashed credit just leased a Rogue Sport. She did zero shopping. The bigger Rouge could probably be had for less.

  • avatar
    johnnyz

    CVT’s have come a long way. My 16 Maxima has a direct drive feel. Punch it at 30 and it feels like a manual trans in 2nd, direct power to the wheels.

    My Polaris 850 ATV has a cvt too, no stepped shifting there.

    Nissan makes and has made the hottest NA V6 extant. Smooth delivery, great sound and no waiting. Anyone that says otherwise is wrong. Yes, I know that NA motors are on their way out.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    I leased a 16 Altima S early part through this year from Uber in order for me to be able to drive for the company. The Uber lot was full of Nissans and Toyota’s.

    The only reason why I picked the Altima was because it had the least amount of miles on it but I wished I picked another brand instead.

    First off, the car had a ton of road noise and the ride quality was horrible!! You felt every little thing and after driving for several hours a day for Uber, my body physically hurt from the constant pounding driving the crumbling downtown streets and other urban areas in San Diego. The interior of the Altima did look outdated compared to other brands in similar year and model trim, but the seats were comfy and well padded but other than that the interior quality was cheap and bland.

    The exterior paint had horrible orange peel and looked hazy, like a cheap Mexican paint job from across the border.

    The CVT for the most part was seemless in shift performance and acceleration, but I did get the occasional drone sounds and unpleasant vibrations. The hella noisy tractor 2.5 engine is so unrefined and loud, I will say that the car did great on gas after hours of driving in stop n go traffic and freeway driving.

    Overall the Altima is a cheap car that is behind the times. Nissan is for the budget bottom of basement consumer. I was so disappointed with the car, a Ford Fusion is a better car than the Altima.

    I returned the Altima only after a few months of driving and I bought a 17 Impala which is a superior car in every way and i have absolutely no complaints with it, as there’s really no big flaws with the Impala, as it’s very quiet to drive, is smooth, has lots of power (V6 3.6) is comfortable and has loads of interior space and a huge trunk. Plus it’s features and tech is very good and everything works well. Apple CarPlay has really come in handy as an Uber driver big time.

    • 0 avatar

      I am sorry to announce Ford is cancelling the Fusion’s North American production in 2020! In the long run the Altima beat the Fusion. At least the Altima will be around in ten years.

      Read about the possible Fusion cancellation below.
      http://www.motortrend.com/news/report-ford-to-end-fusion-production-in-north-america/

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    Here, fleets seem to have endless Corollas, Camries (the old model) and i30s…Cruzes were pretty common as well at one point.

    Nissan hasn’t sold so well here in the past few years. There are no more sedans being sold at all in our lineup, and the only non-CUV/SUV’s being sold in our lineup is the 370Z and the GT-R.

    They have also abandoned the 4WD market to some extent as well, seeing as the GQ Patrol (with the ZD30 Turbodiesel) was discontinued in 2016, and the current Y62 is Petrol-only.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    We cross-shopped Rogue and CRV last year and the low residuals on the Rogue meant the Nissan store couldn’t even remotely compete with Honda’s lease deal…a middle of the line Rogue with panoramic sunroof would have cost $40/MO more than a CRV EX. I was looking at Nissan as a cheaper alternative than Honda, NOT a more costly alternative.

    As it turns out nobody in the household likes the CRV and I get stuck driving it…my wife “stole” my Jetta again because she says the dogs have an easier time climbing in when she takes them to Puppy Camp every day. I think she just dislikes the CRV as much as I do. My main beef is that the headrest pushes my head forward and I get a stiff neck/headache unless I recline the seat WAY back. The seats are also hard like a park bench, not hard but supportive like an old MB. The Honda will be replaced by a VW AllTrack wagon once we close on our house…the loan officer said “no inquiries, no new credit until we close”

  • avatar

    I wonder if people realize that Nissan has surpassed GM in international sales. That’s right folks GM is in fourth place.
    Rental sales wouldn’t even save GM now.

    The Altima outsells anything the big three make. Chrysler could not even compete at all and cancelled the 200. It looks now that the Fusion will be either cancelled or made in China. Unlike Ford and Chrysler, at least Nissan can still make competitive cars.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      “Competitive” only if you sell them at a huge discount and torpedo residual values with plenty of rental sales.

      Which is exactly what the domestics were doing for so very long, we all saw how that worked out for them.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      I imagine GM’s fall in rankings has more to do with its sale of Opel than Nissan’s performance.

      And while it’s unfortunate that Chrysler and (likely) Ford have abandoned the midsize sedan market in the U.S., I’d take a 200 or Fusion over Altima any day.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I tell you hwut: the Maxima rental I got from Enterprise made a lasting impression on me. If my G37S weren’t so much visually, dynamically and…. “modifiably” better, I would have grabbed a new Maxima in a heartbeat. If you want a quick, luxurious, stylish car that you never plan to modify, you should definitely check out the Maxima. It’s good. I even prefer the CVT to my 7AT and would consider it to be as good as the ZF8 honestly. Seriously!

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      I’ve not yet driven one, but the current-generation Maxima seems generally well regarded by journalists. The last generation, which I rented on several occasions, was a piece of crap.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I’ve lived with 3 Nissans (2 with CVTs) both new and old over the years and they are nothing like the B&B says they are. They have been smooth, reliable and hardly penalty box worthy. I seriously do not get all of the moaning and groaning about CVTs when many of us older folk came from droney three speed autos that usually died by 100k miles!

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I always feel like I am in bizarro world when it comes to other people talking about Nissans. My family had a 2000 Altima that lasted to something like 220k miles until the automatic finally died. The motor was actually still in decent running shape. It was able to limp itself to the dealership to be traded in. Aside from the trans, it was your typical gas, oil, brakes, and oxygen sensor replacement. It didn’t get very good fuel economy but the thing was $15k brand new and lasted 200k miles without much downtime, what do you expect?

    I’ve also had several friends with older Maximas and they all seem to reach the double century mark without much issue but eventually rusted out.

    What am I missing here? Sounds like a typical generic Japanese car. They seem to be built much better than Subarus.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “What am I missing here?”

      Older Nissan =/= today’s Nissan.

      And that seems to apply in several different ways, from reliability of the CVT to driving character to perceived brand status based on customer stereotypes.

      The latter two are for the B&B to opine upon with undignified smugness, but the first is relevant to anyone. Our 2012 Altima was stone dead reliable and dirt, dirt cheap to run…until the $4500 CVT became an issue before 90K miles. That shoves the total cost of ownership straight through the roof and burns a lot of goodwill.

    • 0 avatar
      Yesac13

      That’s the 1990s Nissans you’re talking about. They were really good, especially the Maximas. The late 1990s Nissan Maxima is among my favorite cars of all time.

      Somewhere in the 2000s, Nissan lost their way. Not that reliable anymore and just crude. They’re now the Japanese version of GM or Ford from the 1990s!

      That said, I think Nissan is doing the right thing, unfortunately. Cheap sells. People don’t care as much about cars like they did in the past. Just need something to get them from point a to b. These days you either go more costly or go as cheap as possible, nothing in the middle. Sorta like the disappearing middle class. I predict a possible future of constant leasing with the cars being crushed right after lease’s end because of perfect planned obsolescence…

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “. These days you either go more costly or go as cheap as possible, nothing in the middle. Sorta like the disappearing middle class. I predict a possible future of constant leasing with the cars being crushed right after lease’s end because of perfect planned obsolescence…”

        Fast food

        Fast fashion (shirt and pants that fall apart in less than 5 wash cycles)

        Fast interior decorating (must remodel kitchen and bathrooms every 2 1/2 year with new cabinets, flooring, trim, fixtures appliances,) based Kn latest HGTV show

        Disposable disintegrating vehicles

  • avatar
    NJRide

    Had a Rogue for about 3 weeks when my wifes CX5 was in a bad accident. I can sell why it sells well and to fleets. (Large interior and cargo room, easy controls). But compared to the CX5 and my 15 Tiguan the driving experience was subpar. It still handles like a truck which neither of our CUVs do.

    Had even more disappointment from Santa Fe we rented in Florida. Terrible seats, bad handling and decade-old radio. You can see that a Mazda, Honda or Vw is worth whatever premium after driving a base Hyundai.
    .

  • avatar
    Pig Hater

    Wow, long ago back in their 240Z/510 Datsun days I had a lot of respect for Nissan. I did own a 1994 Sentra SE-R for awhile too. It was a fun car but I just kept losing more and more respect for them after that. Well it was in 1999 that Renault bought Nissan, that could have a lot to do with what Nissan is today.

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    With Nissans, their 1990s cars are lasting pretty well here, my friend’s relative (not sure which one) had a 1999 Pulsar and it was stone dead reliable (excluding the Radio/CD unit failing, which just meant it got a junkyard replacement, and it worked perfectly again afterwards). Other than routine maintenance, it never broke down until it got written off in a rear-end hit in 2014.

    Another friend had a 2002 Maxima ST (A33) hand-me-down for a little while (it is still in that family, just that the friend does not drive it these days, they now have a 2015 Focus Titanium). I have been in it once. The VQ30DE was a nice engine, and it was pretty good on the freeway at 100. Not too high on the odometer though, only 230,000 km’s on it but I am sure it can do many more!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Nissan serves the same niche today that Pontiac served 20 years ago. Generally when I see a non-rental Rouge or Altima on the street I figure the owner has poor credit, perhaps not right, but it is what it is.

    The rental fleet, cheap lease, and for the most part credit challenged who need a big amount of cash on the hood to get them ‘into’ a new car.

    I too rent several times a month, figure 3 times on average for two days. I avoid Nissan product like the plague. Since I am on the company dime and I could care less about fuel economy personally or professionally I tend to rent the largest vehicle I can get from National. So, I drive a lot of Ram and Chevy pick ups, which is fine by me.
    I don’t care for the Ford user interface so I will not be owning one and only rent if that is what is left.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Keeping dumping Armada SVs into fleets Nissan, they are making for some incredible 1 year old used car deals right now.

  • avatar

    I’ve done OK by this as a renter. Infiniti Q35 in Montana. Infiniti Q50 in Calif. Otherwise, Altimas and Rogues are normally the “grey boxes on the road trying to kill me”. Rogues are normally the most incompetently driven….

  • avatar

    Although I drove a GT-R and loved it…but it clearly comes from some other “nissan”.

  • avatar
    la834

    LOL, a few weeks ago I needed to rent a car from Enterprise for a week and a half, and the only car they had left was an Altima. I asked if they had anything else, and was told only a Grand Caravan which would have cost an extra $9/day. I rented the Altima but was bothered by the squeaky brakes and a smart key it often refused to recognize for a minute or two, complaining it was an “invalid key”. I called three times over my rental period looking to swap cars, but they never got any other vehicles in stock except other Altimas and Caravans. It wasn’t a terrible car, but it’s a distinct step below the new Camry and Accord. The guy I returned the car to said squeaky brakes were chronic on Altimas.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      When I’ve had Nationwide collision rentals through Enterprise (twice since 2013, one my dumb in a parking lot by bumping a sign stanchion, one doofus who backed into my car), I was treated to Fiatsler’s worst (second-to-last 200, Jeep Compass)! An Altima, hell a Versa Note, would have been an improvement!

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    Some of the worst cars I have driven have been rental Nissans. For some reason, whenever I travel through Denver, I get stuck with some fleet-level Nissan which only solidifies my aversion to the brand.

    I’m pretty sure the reason is that the models they chose to dump on Dever aren’t suitable for the climate / elevation but the bad taste is hard to wash out. I will never own a Nissan – ever.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    In 2017 I rented 49 cars. Of those 26 were the Nissan Altima or Rogue. This is from National “Emerald Aisle” lots from coast to coast and all points in-between. Over Christmas I rented a Hyundai Santa Fe, gladly walking past a fleet of Nissans at the DTW rental lots. Nissan is everywhere and they are terrible.

    Next most common rental behind the Nissan was the Toyota Camry. Even got a new 2018 model in LA a few weeks back. It was an abysmal stripped version that was not good in any way but not quite as bad as an Altima. Had several Sonotas too. They’re bad too…about the same as the Camry in stripped down non-luxe trim. By comparison the Titanum trim Fusion Hybrid I had in Orlando was hands down the best mid-size rental I got all year. It’s the most “drivers” car in the mix when not a hybrid, but the top level trim sure helps sell a car on the rental lot.

    Had a Jeep Wrangler in Raleigh – that was the quirkiest car all year. Why on gods earth people buy those for everyday use continues to baffle. Was fun to drive around in a dirt lot and over a few curbs just because.

    Also can’t forget the full size BOF SUV’s I’ve rented. Expedition in Ft. Lauderdale and Escalade in Philly. Why those are in rental fleets is beyond me. Fuel consumption is eye opening as a non-SUV owner.


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