Stung by negative reviews of the compact sedan, which was all-new for ’13 last fall,has recalibrated the suspension, steering and transmission on the ’14 model, which the auto maker says is due in the U.S in late November.
’13 Nissan Sentra’s NVH issues improved for ’14.
IRVINE, CA – Taking a page from theCivic, revises its Sentra compact sedan just one year after the latest-generation model was launched.
Stung by negative reviews of the car, which was all-new for ’13 last fall,has recalibrated the suspension, steering and transmission on the ’14 model, which the auto maker says is due in the U.S in late November.
“We do listen to complaints and reports,” Andy Palmer, executive vice president-Nissan, tells WardsAuto in an interview here. “We had some issues with Consumer Reports’ rankings, and we’ve addressed those.”
While the closely watched consumer magazine lauded the Sentra’s large rear seat, good fit-and- finish and easy-to-use controls, it also cited the car for being “obnoxiously loud,” with slow steering response that provides little driver feedback and a “jumpy and abrupt” ride over rough pavement.
Palmer says Nissan has remedied the noise, vibration and harshness issues, as well as the “roar” of the standard continuously variable transmission, both of which WardsAuto noted in a review of the compact.
“We’ve put what we call a detent (in the CVT), so it feels more like an (automatic transmission),” he says. “We’ve improved the ride and handling. So we took some fairly significant actions.”
Palmer is pleased with the Sentra’s sales performance in the U.S. this year, up 18.3% through August, although volume of 90,483 units trails others in the highly competitive C-segment. The Civic led all compacts with 230,578 deliveries.
TheCorolla, whose sales this year have included some units of the discontinued Matrix hatchback, was the No.2 best-selling compact with 210,296 units in the first eight months. The Chevrolet Cruze, Focus, Elantra and Volkswagen Jetta also led the Sentra, with deliveries of more than 100,000 units each through August.
Palmer blames car’s lagging sales on capacity constraints.
WardsAuto inventory data shows the Nissan C-car had 28 days’ supply at the end of August, the lowest of any North American-built compact. That’s less than the Corolla/Matrix’s 33 days, Civic’s 45 and Jetta’s 61.
Nissan’s sole source for the Sentra in the U.S. is its Aguascalientes, Mexico, plant. However, the auto maker plans to add the model to its Altima midsize line at its Canton, MS, factory in the year’s fourth quarter.
“You’re going to see a push toward the end of the year on Sentra,” Palmer says of the added capacity.