May Nissan Sales Flag

May sales for Franklin-based Nissan North America fell 9 percent compared to the same month last year. That’s even as the company’s sales have been up for 2011 overall.

The reverberations of March’s massive earthquake and tsunami are still working their way through Nissan’s Japanese supply chain, says Tracy Schneiter. She’s a market analyst with the Michigan-based industry forecaster IRN.

So someone who’s made up their mind to buy a Nissan with a certain engine or color might not be able to find it, and instead just take their down-payment home. Schneiter says there are also doubts about the economy.

“Consumer sentiment is down a little bit as well. People are feeling a little bit ‘eh,’ a little bit stretched right now. We’re definitely seeing a little bit of a softening because of primarily what we believe is both gas and interruption of the supply.”

Schneiter says it’s too soon to parse out to what extent high gas prices factor in.

And while saying Nissan seems to be gaining ground against rival carmaker Toyota, Schneiter cautions the full effects of the Japanese disaster on sales won’t be visible until later this summer.

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