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Nissan sets new Nov sales record, has already trounced 2012 numbers. Here's why

Automakers are mostly flying high right now, seeing sales jump over last year as economic recovery begins. The company, of course, says this is because of high consumer demand. Is that the real reason?

November sales numbers for Nissan and Infiniti are in. Both brands have seen a huge jump over November 2012 numbers and both have set new records and are well past their full 2012 sales totals.

So far this year, Nissan's sales are over 1,035,000 vehicles in the U.S., with many months, including November, showing sales of over 100,000 units here. Compared to November 2012, November 2013 was up 10.7 percent for Nissan and 10.5 percent for Infiniti.

Consumer demand, of course, is a strong reason. Divisional VP Fred Diaz said that in the company's release:

"Consumers' strong demand for Nissan products continued last month, culminating in a very good Black Friday weekend and driving our sales performance to an all-time record November," said Fred Diaz, divisional vice president, Sales and Marketing and Service and Parts, Nissan U.S.A. "Nissan has achieved record sales in eight out of 11 months in 2013 and with more than 1 million units sold, we have already outsold all of 2012."

Four key models are driving sales, all of which had big jumps in sales year-on-year.

The Altima is Nissan's flagship midsize sedan and with a full remodel for 2013, it's a far better car than it ever has been. Competing with the Toyota Camry for the top sales spot in the U.S., it is often playing King of the Hill with Honda's Accord for the second place spot and both of these vehicles are gaining on the Camry to become top dog.

The LEAF is the world's best-selling electric car and for the past year, has consistently been the number one selling battery electric in the U.S. as the charging grid expands slowly and consumers whose incomes cannot justify the expense of an expensive EV (cough Model S cough) or who don't need to allay false range anxieties with a range-extended electric Volt, are finding the LEAF is just the right product. Now that they're building both cars and batteries here in the United States, supply constraints are no longer holding the LEAF back and deliveries have jumped 141.1 percent so far over last year.

The Nissan Sentra is the company's small sedan with big sales, thanks to better availability, a new design for 2013, and a better-looking car than most in this segment offer. The Sentra's four-cylinder engine and industry-leading CVT is gaining new love from both the press and buyers.

Finally, the company's midsized pickup, the Frontier, has seen a sales jump of 54.6 percent year-on-year despite the truck being long in the tooth and ripe for a redesign to upgrade its looks. It's kept up with the market, however, thanks to continual upgrades to interior fit and technology, some of the best offroad performance available on the market in the Pro4X package, and especially thanks to there being little or no competition in the midsize truck market for 2013. The Toyota Tacoma is the Frontier's only competitor and that truck has none of the pizzazz the Frontier offers. Next year may be different, with the Chevrolet Colorado coming and the Frontier's big brother, the Titan, getting a killer new diesel engine offering. Most of us expect to see the Frontier get a redesign for the 2015 model year, as will its SUV brother the Xterra.

Meanwhile, Infiniti, Nissan's premium brand, is not slouching either. Two vehicles are driving the Infiniti brand's sales jump, both of which are new for 2013. The Q50 sedan, replacing the G37, had the strongest sales of any Infiniti model with the luxury sedan seeing nearly 6,000 deliveries for November. Close behind it is the new QX60 luxury crossover, jumping in sales over 19 percent.

Nissan's strategy of "hit 'em fast, hit 'em hard" with both new model offerings / redesigns and moving production to where the vehicle is sold is paying off. It's resulting in a big jump in sales as Nissan moves forward towards a goal of increased market share globally. Production plants in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Mexico are going strong with new facilities being added on in the near future.

This shifting of manufacturing has also resulted in other interesting facets to the Nissan marketing plan, which we will delve into in the near future through a one-on-one interview Torque News recently had with Nissan's Vice President of Product Planning, Pierre Loing.