That is higher than usual for a couple of reasons. Nissan launched some of its 2018 models later in the year than normal, and 2018s are not yet plentiful. But Nissan also is coping with the same thing the rest of the auto industry is working through — the results of a third-quarter market slowdown, exacerbated by hurricanes in Texas and Florida and wildfires in California.
The bonus spiffs represent a holiday paycheck bonanza for salespeople, coming on top of Nissan's usual December marketing campaigns. The company also has scheduled a big wave of advertising this month focusing on its tie-in with the newest Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Last December, when Nissan linked advertising for its Rogue crossover with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, sales went off the chart, making the model the industry's top-selling nonpickup nameplate for the month in the U.S.
But spiffing salespeople also can be a touchy point with some dealers.
One Nissan retailer who asked not to be identified said that when the factory incentivizes salespeople to sell any model they can, it can result in a slant toward "low-hanging fruit." A salesperson might steer customers toward easier sales — meaning models with less dealer profit.
Wheeler acknowledges that such factory spiffing is not always popular with dealers. Some feel that any available factory funds should come directly to them — not their sales personnel, she said.
But she said Nissan is trying fresh ideas to stir sales of the 2017s.
"This is to motivate salespeople and sales managers," she said. "It's positive with the salespeople. We don't normally do this, but we talked to our regional sales vice presidents about ways to move out of our 2017s sooner.
"We're actually flat in overall incentives," she said. "The dollar amount per unit is flat from November to December. We're just packaging it in a little different way. And we're down from a year ago."
Nissan informed dealers this month that its total incentive offering on 2017 Muranos for December will be $5,000, including $1,500 in dealer bonus cash.
But in December 2016, the Murano received $5,687, according to Motor Intelligence, a monthly incentives report.