Toyota will not be happy about this.
The all-new 2021 Nissan Rogue is a significant improvement over its predecessor, boasting a more premium design, new safety tech, and upgraded driving dynamics. As Nissan's best-selling model, there's a lot riding on the redesigned Rogue. With deliveries of the new family crossover starting this fall, Nissan is resorting to bold sales tactics to steal sales from Toyota.
Autonews reports the Japanese automaker is so confident the new Rogue is better than its chief rival, the Toyota RAV4, that Nissan is offering free test drives of the RAV4 throughout December to show how they compare.
Nissan expects around half of its 1,074 dealers across the US to use this unusual sales strategy in the hope that the Rogue will beat the RAV4's sales since Toyota's crossover usually outsells its rival by 2:1. It's a bold, but very risky move. According to Tyson Jominy, J.D. Power's Power Information Network VP, this strategy could backfire badly.
"If you can keep customers at your dealership without allowing them to leave, it will result in incremental sales," said Jominy. "The risk is that Nissan will indirectly contribute to selling more Toyota RAV4s. A percentage of customers are inevitably going to value the differences between the models differently than expected."
However, Nissan is confident it can lure buyers away from the Toyota RAV4. "We know that when consumers check out the all-new Rogue side by side with the RAV4, they will be amazed by our standard safety, advanced technology, premium design and, most of all, outstanding overall value," said Judy Wheeler, Nissan division vice president, in a video addressed to US dealers obtained by Autonews.
In the US, the 2021 Rogue starts at $25,490, making it more affordable than the entry-level Toyota RAV4. As standard, the family crossover is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. All models are equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring assists as standard.