Nissan isn’t afraid to take on the champ.
The automaker will soon be offering customers shopping for its all-new 2021 Rogue SUV test drives … of the Toyota Rav4. Nissan has confirmed to Fox Business the existence of the program, details of which were first reported by Automotive News.
According to the outlet, Nissan will provide rented Rav4s to be used for comparison by dealers who opt in. The Rav4 is currently the best selling vehicle in the class, and the best selling vehicle in the U.S. that’s not a pickup.
"We know that when customers check out the all-new Rogue side by side against the Rav4, they will be amazed by our standard safety, advanced technology, premium design ... and, most of all, outstanding overall value," Nissan sales V.P. Judy Wheeler told dealers in a video seen by Automotive News.
The Rogue is by far Nissan’s best-seller and has topped the monthly segment sales charts a couple of times in recent years, but currently sits in fourth place behind the Rav4, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox as it transitions to the 2021 model.
Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.com thinks the potential rewards outweigh the risks of putting customers in a competitor's vehicle.
"Nissan has been hit hard by the pandemic and the company's market share has shrunk in 2020," Caldwell said.
"To combat the decline, its marketing team was likely tasked to find non-traditional ways to capture consumer attention and stand out in a sea of ads. Putting Rogue up against Toyota's RAV4 sends the message that Nissan is confident in its product which should resonate well with buyers in this segment."
Toyota V.P. of sales Bob Carter told Automotive News that he’s “flattered” by Nissan’s plan.