Not concerned with offering all-wheel drive, Nissan’s recently launched Kicks subcompact knows its ground clearance, styling, and low, low entry price is what customers will take notice of, not its perceived off-road prowess. It doesn’t have any (though on dry and flat boulder-free trails, it would probably do fine).
After Nissan unveiled its pricing in the U.S. and Canada, we noticed that the normal north-of-the-border markup was missing in action. As a result, buying a base Kicks S in Canada is just eight bucks pricier than an American purchase ($17,998 vs. $17,990). Both Canada and the U.S. love their big trucks, I said at the time, but this little ute will do better north of the border.
It’s always nice to be proven right.
Having populated dealer lots in sufficient numbers for a couple of months now, it’s clear that, while selling in lower numbers than in the States, the Kicks makes a bigger impact in the Great White North’s Nissan stable.
In August, some 6.1 percent of all Nissan vehicles sold in Canada were Kicks, and in July that figure was 7.6 percent. The U.S. tally shows a much lower demand in relation to the rest of Nissan’s lineup: 3.8 percent of Nissans sold stateside last month were Kicks. July saw a 2.4 percent figure.
With 3,876 sales in the U.S. in August, the Kicks outsold such mini crossover rivals as the Mazda CX-3 (1,481 units) and the Toyota C-HR (3,823 units), but failed to reach the volume enjoyed by the equally new Hyundai Kona (4,772 units) and Ford EcoSport (4,769). Honda’s on another strata of volume with its HR-V, while General Motors keeps data for its strong-selling Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore (hardly a Kicks competitor) to itself until the end of the quarter rolls around.
In comparison, the Kicks outsold the HR-V in Canada, as well as the C-HR, and likely the EcoSport, too (the model hit a sales high in July that was only 16 units higher than the Kicks’ August tally). Oddly, Mazda sells almost the same number of CX-3s in Canada as it does in the States, so it trounced its front-drive Nissan rival last month.
Inside Nissan’s American lineup, the Kicks outsold — individually — the Versa, Maxima, Leaf, Armada, and both the 370Z and GT-R last month. In Canada, the Kicks outsold all of these vehicles (minus a suddenly popular Leaf), but also the Altima, Pathfinder, Frontier, and Titan. Yes, cross-border differences in vehicle demand are often stark — Wednesday’s look at the buying habits of Jeep customers made that clear.
Regardless of country, Nissan sales rose last month. The brand finished August with a 4.4 percent year-over-year increase in the U.S. and a 1.5 percent increase in Canada, though year-to-date sales favor the north side of the border. Nissan sales over the first eight months of 2018 sank 4.8 percent stateside, but rose 1.9 percent in Canada.