Nissan Motor Co. (7201), seeking a boost for its second-best-selling U.S. model, has revamped the Rogue small sport-utility vehicle to get a bigger share of the growing crossover segment from Honda Motor Co. (7267) and Ford Motor Co. (F)
The 2014 Rogue, longer and wider than the current model, gets a restyled exterior, an optional third row of seats, new safety and in-car technology features and a fuel-economy boost, the Yokohama, Japan-based company said today. U.S. sales of the new version that’s built in Smyrna, Tennessee, start in November, with a starting price of $22,490, Nissan said.
“This is a big part of our growth strategy for the Americas,” Scott Shirley, Nissan’s chief marketing manager in North America, said following the Rogue introduction in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
As U.S. auto sales recover to their highest level in six years, deliveries of small crossovers -- the second-biggest segment behind mid-size cars -- have outpaced the industry’s 9.6 percent expansion, according to industry researcher Autodata Corp.
Small crossovers and sport wagons are up 15 percent through August, with Honda’s CR-V and Ford’s Escape battling for segment leadership with sales of more than 200,000 units each. Rogue sales this year through August gained 16 percent from a year earlier to 113,316, accelerating after Nissan reduced the model’s base price by $2,300 in May.
The Rogue is on pace to sell 150,000 to 160,000 models in the U.S. this year, Nissan’s Shirley said. The company’s goal is to increase those sales, he said, declining to be more specific.
With the new Rogue, Nissan is wagering that features including blind-spot monitoring to avoid accidents and more smartphone-driven applications will enhance the model’s appeal. Highway fuel economy may total as much as 33 miles (53 kilometers) per gallon from 28 mpg currently, the company said.
The European version of the Rogue, the X-Trail, was unveiled earlier today at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Nissan’s North American unit is based in Franklin, Tennessee.
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