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Nissan Sentra Sales Went From Bad to Worse

Has the end finally come for the trusty Nissan Sentra sedan? If the latest sales figures are any indication, Nissan may have to soon rethink what was once one of the top sellers in their lineup. In one year, Sentra sales have fallen off dramatically. What does this mean for the future of the Japanese car company?

Nissan Sentra sales are sad

To get a picture of how dismal things are looking for the Nissan Sentra, compare sales numbers from the first quarter of 2019. In that quarter, Nissan sold 56,793 Sentra models in the United States. In the first quarter of 2020, they sold just 23,879. That is a decline of more than half (58 percent). 

Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota dominate the American car landscape, with sales in the 400,000-unit range. These are followed by Honda and then Nissan, with 232,048 units sold in 2019. While Nissan and specifically Sentra sales were once much more robust, they are down significantly for the fiscal year. 

Nissan has more troubles than the Sentra

2017 Nissan Sentra is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Nissan Sentra | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The fall of Sentra sales doesn’t bode well for Nissan, but that isn’t the only challenge facing the car company.  According to Car and Driver magazine, the news at Nissan isn’t good. Although the company isn’t revealing exact details, sales were down by 73 percent overall in the first half of 2019. 

There are reportedly plans to shut down several plants and possibly eliminate some models. As of January 2020, no locations or models had been named officially, but a Reuters report cited in the article said Nissan could be cutting over 4,000 white-collar jobs at their headquarters both in Europe and the U.S. Other cost-cutting measure include closing regional sales offices in North America later in 2020 and offering older employees voluntary separation packages. They will also slash things like sales incentives and promotions. 

Many speculate this all stems from the troubles of Nissan’s former CEO. Carlos Ghosn is currently a fugitive, who was arrested in 2018 for financial misconduct. He then escaped house arrest in 2019, fled Japan, and secretly flew to Lebanon on the run from the law. That’s never a good sign for a car company even in the best of times. 

The 2020 Nissan Sentra

Under the hood of the 2020 Nissan Sentra is a brand-new engine – a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 149 hp. It accelerates the compact sedan quite nicely, and reviewers at Kelley Blue Book also liked the Nissan Sentra’s firm braking. They found the steering responsive thanks to the independent suspension and active ride control. The engine is mated to a CVT transmission, and there’s a long list of standard features

Consumer Reports thought the interior was roomy and comfortable with intuitive controls for the systems and entertainment. They recommend at least the SV version, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 technology includes safety systems such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and a blind-spot warning. They noted the Sentra does not come with a lane-keeping assistance feature. 

There’s a surprising amount of room in the trunk, and you can open it either with the key fob, inside the cabin, or by using the touchpad on the trunk lid. You can also split the seats 60/40 for longer items. Reviewers found the rear seats to have an average amount of room for passengers. 

Even though its sales numbers don’t reflect it, the Nissan Sentra is still a solid sedan. It was completely redesigned and includes new features like an independent rear suspension. Unfortunately, Nissan may be plagued by too many problems for the car to carry on for much longer.