Nissan will let customers compare rival RAV4 at dealerships

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“We know that when consumers check out the all-new Rogue side by side with the RAV4, they will be amazed by our standard safety, advanced technology, premium design … and, most of all, outstanding overall value,” Wheeler told dealers.

The 2021 Rogue starts at $26,745, including shipping. It has a more powerful engine and is loaded with family-friendly technology — for just $160 more than the outgoing version.

“It’s really about the features that are standard for the value that we are offering,” Wheeler told Automotive News last week. “When you test drive our vehicle versus the major competitors, you’re going to end up purchasing this vehicle because it’s that much better.”

Toyota Motor North America’s sales chief, Bob Carter, said his company is “flattered” by Nissan’s RAV4 plan.

“We are confident their dealers and customers will appreciate the quality, value, versatility and safety features that have made the RAV4 the No. 1-selling SUV in the United States,” Carter said.

Much is riding on the 2021 Rogue’s launch as Nissan attempts to steer its struggling U.S. business through a sales slump. U.S. sales plunged 38 percent to 597,064 vehicles during the first nine months of the year.

The Rogue-RAV4 comparison test is part of a four-month advertising push that is just starting. The Rogue “will have the most robust marketing campaign in Nissan’s history,” Wheeler said. “It will be seen in just every form of medium that you can possibly use to get the message out there.”

The campaign, internally referred to as “Rogue Gone Rogue,” was described by one dealer briefed on the plan as a blitz.

“I’ve never seen Nissan go this deep,” the dealer said. “The Rogue launch is Nissan’s best opportunity yet to fix the brand and get market share back.”

Nissan is fueling the launch with incentives, including $1,500 in lease cash in November for returning Rogue customers.

Larry P. Vellequette contributed to this report.

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Saurabh Shukla

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