Nissan Motor Co. is cutting the sticker price on seven of its 18 models in the U.S.
Nissan is hoping that the change will help the cars and SUVs show up more prominently on shopper search websites such as AutoTrader, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.
Some analysts had speculated that Nissan was taking advantage of a weak yen to charge lower prices. The yen has depreciated more than 20% in relation to the U.S. dollar in the last four months.
But Nissan denies that the changes are related to currency exchange rates. “Most of these models are made in the U.S.,” said Travis Parman, director of corporate communications for Nissan.
Nissan said the change will help it show up in more price range searches by shoppers where its MSRP might have once been above that range.
But mainly, Nissan said it wants to be more price competitive for online shoppers whose initial search is for “midsize sedans” or “crossover SUVs” or other vehicle categories.
Prospective buyers should note that Nissan is careful to say that it does not expect a change in transaction prices.
Nissan will be lowering the MSRP on some 2013 Altimas, Sentras, Jukes, Muranos, Rogues, Maximas and Muranos, effective Friday.
The changes will range from an MSRP drop on the Altima midsize sedan of about 2.7% or $580 to a drop of 10.7% or about $4,400 on the MSRP for the Armada SUV.
The news isn’t for lack of sales success for Nissan in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the automaker reported a U.S. sales increase of 24.6% from April 2012 to April of this year. Together with its Infiniti luxury brand, Nissan sold 80,003 vehicles in August.
Leading the way was the all-electric Leaf, which has seen an actual sticker price reduction and increased range. Leaf sales quadrupled to 1,937 in April from a year earlier.
Nissan also moved production of the Leaf to the U.S.
Nissan has a goal of reaching 10% of sales in the U.S. market. The car company said that Nissan and Infiniti had a 7.9% U.S. share at the end of 2012.
Nissan has been “very aggressive in its bid to gain market share,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds.com.