Nissan is apparently so confident about their Rogue SUV (also known as the X-Trail in our parts of the world) that it will be offering test drives for its main competitor, the Toyota RAV4, at its dealerships in the United States. Yes, you read that right.
The carmaker is expecting half of its 1,094 dealerships across the country to take part in this unconventional (to say the least) sales strategy. The rented Toyota RAV4s will be provided by Nissan to their dealers at no cost during December.
Data shows that keeping customers at the dealerships for longer usually result in incremental sales, but will having your competitor placed right beside your own product work? Who knows, but J.D. Power’s VP of the Power Information Network, Tyson Jominy seems to have his reservations.
Speaking to Automotive News, Jominy said, “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.”
The unorthodox campaign is known internally as ‘Rogue gone Rogue’, part of a four month advertising push that is described as the “most robust marketing campaign in Nissan’s history”. Nissan’s VP of Sales and Regional Operations, Judy Wheeler, seemed bullish about the outcome of the campaign, as seen from a video message sent to dealers that was acquired by the news outlet.
“We know that when consumers check out the all-new Nissan Rogue side by side with the Toyota RAV4, they will be amazed by our standard, advanced technology, premium design… and, most of all, outstanding overall value,” she said.
Toyota, having made known about the campaign, said that they were “flattered”. “We are confident their dealers and customers will appreciate the quality, value, versatility and safety features that have made the RAV4 the number one-selling (compact) SUV in the United States”, said Toyota USA’s chief of sales, Bob Carter.
The all-new X-Trail was unveiled back in June this year, with a fresh new design featuring the brand’s iconic V-motion active front grille. The Nissan X-Trail’s sleek and flowing exterior design is a stark contrast to the Toyota RAV4’s boxy, utilitarian look.
Although, if you’re a fan of everything else but the looks, you can always go for the Mitsuoka Buddy, which is a RAV4 redesigned to look like an old-school American SUV!
Underneath the hood, the Nissan X-Trail packs an updated 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine with 181 hp and 245 Nm. Meanwhile, the Toyota RAV4, as offered in our country, comes with a 2.5 -litre Dynamic Force engine that makes 207 hp and 243 Nm.