Nissan Is Challenging the RAV4 In a Risky Way

Critics have called the Nissan Rogue the “Mr. Congeniality” of compact SUVs due to its gentleness. But for the upcoming year, Nissan is on a mission to be crowned king amongst its competitors. The 2021 Rogue is bolder than previous generations and is ready to challenge the current class ruler, Toyota’s RAV4.

How the Rouge is boldy challenging the RAV4

A red 2021 Nissan Rogue on the track.
2021 Nissan Rogue | Nissan

The RAV4 is way ahead of its rivals while the Rogue falls toward the middle of the pack. In a daring move to outsell Toyota in this space, Nissan will bring the RAV4 to its dealerships for a direct face-off. As AutoNews highlighted, the RAV4 has been selling the Rogue by 2-to-1. However, there have been months where the Rogue outsold the RAV4. 

2021 Toyota RAV4 driving
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

As of Q3 2020, the Rogue was the fourth-best selling small SUV, trailing the RAV4, Honda, CR-V, and Chevy Equinox. Nissan will extend a rented RAV4 to its dealerships so that customers can compare it directly against the new Rogue. According to AutoNews, Nissan expects half of its 1,074 U.S. dealers to sign up. Of course, this plan is not without risk. 

“If you can keep customers at your dealership without allowing them to leave, it will result in incremental sales,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of the Power Information Network at J.D. Power. “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.”


Are the 2021 Nissan Rogues out yet?

A blue 2021 Nissan Rogue parked on the track.
2021 Nissan Rogue | Nissan

RELATED: The 2021 Nissan Rogue Gives The Toyota RAV4 a Run For Its Money

The 2021 Rogue began arriving at dealerships early this fall. Nissan completely redesigned the Rogue for 2021, so it has a new platform and sculpted shape. The 2021 Rogue is more potent than the previous model and features a 181-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Nissan is confident that customers will fall for the all-new SUV.

2021 Nissan Rogue Interior with black leather seats.
2021 Nissan Rogue Interior

At the same time, Toyota is “flattered” by Nissan’s new plan and is sure that buyers will prefer the RAV4 for the versatility it provides. In November, Nissan plans to further incentivize customers with 0 percent financing and $1,500 in lease cash for returning Rogue drivers. 

Is Nissan doing bad?

2021 Nissan Ariya parked on street
2021 Nissan Ariya | Nissan

RELATED: The Nissan Navara Previews New 2021 Frontier Style

It’s no secret that Nissan has been struggling to keep up with the competition. The success of the 2021 Rogue will play a crucial role in Nissan’s future, as will its new, all-electric Ariya SUV. Nissan has been striving to win back U.S. customers after a global decline in sales last year. 

Nissan admitted that its “aging model lineup” contributed to its 73 percent sales decline in the first half of its fiscal year in 2019. Internal drama and changing company leadership have also put a strain on Nissan.¬†Additionally, Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti has been dealing with an identity crisis of its own.

Of course, COVID-19 has presented newer challenges for the company. Nissan projected a wider-than-projected operating loss for the current fiscal year, as the Japan Times highlighted. The company’s shares are down by 34 percent this year. Companies, including Toyota and Honda, have fared much better during the ongoing pandemic.