NEW YORKNissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer says if an incentive war erupts in the coming months in the U.S., as automakers seek to maintain market share in a growing sales environment, his company will not fire the first shot.

Palmer also promises the slow-selling Cube will live on in a future iteration, but not as the polarizing CUV it is today, and pledges the next Titan large pickup will be an “all-American” truck.

“We certainly wouldn’t trigger (an incentive) war; it’s not in our interest,” says Palmer, who additionally serves as chief planning officer for the Japanese automaker in North America.

Palmer points to the cutthroat midsize-car segment, where spiffs can drive sales leadership month-to-month. The Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry alternated segment leadership in January and February, and Palmer says its rival reclaimed the crown in March because he refused to match discounts.

“We let that go. We’re not chasing the No.1 spot,” he tells WardsAuto during in an interview here. “We’re going to stay disciplined on incentives.”

However, it might be difficult for the industry to hold back. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales in March reached 16.3 million units, the industry’s best performance since February 2007, according to WardsAuto data. Incentives, as well as a number of sales carried over from January and February when poor weather delayed purchases, helped fuel the big gain.

WardsAuto sources suggest the incentive play has continued and perhaps escalated in April, as automakers battle to maintain market share in the expanding sales environment and maintain the big year-over-year sales increases witnessed in 2013 and 2012.

Inventories also remain somewhat elevated, closing March at 3.67 million units, 13.3% above year-ago and equal to a 62 days’ supply, which could lead OEMs to spur a sell-down rather than trim production.

Nissan appears to be in good shape, with sales through March up 11.5% to 354,966 units from 318,281 in like-2013 against an industry just 1.3% ahead of year-ago. The automaker’s light-vehicle market share closed the first quarter at 9.5%, up from 8.7% in the same period last year.

Nissan inventories were at a 52 day’s supply at the end of March, compared with 50 in March 2013.

“It’s probably one of the biggest conversations I have with my North American colleagues,” Palmer says of monthly marketing spends, which incentive-estimator TrueCar pegged last month at an average of $2,773, up 7.9%, or $203, vs. like-2012. Chrysler was the biggest spender and Nissan was sixth.

“In general, growth should be natural,” Palmer says. “When you lose the incentives it snaps back like an elastic band.”