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Nissan’s sales have grown exponentially this year, with many models doubling in popularity. The Nissan Rogue compact SUV is carrying the automaker by a large margin, but the Altima and Sentra are pulling their weight. In comparison, the GT-R’s sales are shockingly low. However, there’s a good reason this high-performance model is the worst-selling Nissan car. 

A gray 2023 Nissan Rogue compact SUV model parked on the side of a curving mountain highway trail
2023 Nissan Rogue | Nissan Motor Corporation

The best-selling Nissan Rogue is 68% more popular than in 2022, selling over 71,000 units in April through June. In the first half of 2023, the company sold 147,745 Rogue SUVs. And though the Nissan Altima’s overall popularity is down, it still achieved over 63,000 sales in the same period. 

The Nissan Sentra’s year-to-date figures grew by about 30% after selling more than 57,000 vehicles. Both the Sentra and the Armada doubled their sales on a quarterly YTD basis. The Pathfinder and Kicks SUVs also saw substantial YTD gains.

So, what is the worst-selling Nissan car? Unless you’re an enthusiast, you’ve likely never heard of the GT-R. Indeed, not many people have purchased this vehicle. Nissan reports it sold only 217 examples in the first six months of this year. However, that’s a huge increase over its 2022 sales, when the GT-R took a one-year hiatus. The standard 2024 Nissan GT-R went on sale this past spring, and the NISMO version soon followed.

The worst-selling Nissan car has 1 big problem

A promotional shot of a blue 2023 Nissan GT-R performance sports car coupe model
2023 Nissan GT-R | Nissan Motor Corporation

The GT-R is an excellent performance car thanks to its standard 565-hp twin-turbo V6. Nissan’s most trusted engineers hand-assemble each powerplant and give it a seal of approval with a unique badge. The engine pairs with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive with Dynamic Vehicle Control.

Aggressive front and rear Brembo brakes are also standard, as are Bilstein DampTronic shocks and a limited-slip differential. Inside the driver-focused cockpit, you can track the GT-R’s chassis performance and revs on the G monitor. There’s room for four riders on plush semi-aniline leather seats, and the center touchscreen accommodates a few convenience features.

Though the worst-selling Nissan car is finely crafted, most consumers can’t afford over $120,000 to own one. Add $20,000 more for a T-spec model. And going all-out with a fully loaded 2023 Nissan GT-R NISMO costs at least $220,990.

The GT-R got a highly anticipated makeover for 2024

The 2023 GT-R mostly remained unchanged, so why the worst-selling Nissan car didn’t appear for the 2022 model year is unclear. However, the 2024 GT-R got a much-needed update, mainly to the body. The grille is extended and optimized with thinner mesh, the rear sports a new spoiler, and the quad exhaust pipes have been revamped. However, all base mechanical specs carry over from the previous model year. 

In addition, the 2024 Nissan GT-R NISMO has some new aerodynamic styling elements, including multiple carbon fiber pieces. It also has a few notable mechanical enhancements, including larger brake rotors, an exclusive NISMO suspension, and 600 hp on tap. And the new T-spec trim boasts gold-plated wheels, extra air ducts, and carbon-ceramic brakes. 

If the worst-selling Nissan car were more popular, the company could justify a complete GT-R redesign. After all, the automaker still cares enough about this model to give it at least modest updates. However, next-gen development takes considerable time and costly research. Alhough the GT-R’s performance chops justify the asking price, that high dollar amount naturally results in lower sales.