Nissan discontinues Pathfinder Hybrid

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 4, 2015

The Nissan Pathfinder crossover hybrid version will not return for the 2016 model year. The automaker has decided to scrap this model as more buyers turn to traditional crossovers, pickups, and SUVs. Production of this model began in October 2013 and ended in January 2015. The company stopped building this model amid declining gasoline prices in the U.S. Since then, dealerships have been selling off the remaining units in its inventory.

However, production will continue at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn., for the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid (the twin version of the vehicle). It will be available as a 2016 model. According to an Infiniti spokesman, the hybrid is sold by a few Infiniti retailers in the U.S. However, majority of its units are being exported to global markets such as China and Mexico.

Nissan spokesman Dan Bedore said that the company never looked at the hybrid as a “big part” of its Pathfinder sales. He emphasized that for this segment, the “heart” of the market has always been the traditional Pathfinder. This change in its product lineup won’t have a significant effect on the U.S. sales volume of the brand.

Last month, its sales increased by 13% compared to the same month the previous year. In June 2015, Pathfinder sales in the U.S. totalled 7,168 units, a 13% increase from the previous year. Nissan makes the choice to stop production of the hybrid as American consumers have enthusiastically returned to patronizing truck and SUV segments.

Their love for this segment had waned during the 2007 financial crisis and it is only now that it has come back. In the last decade, automakers had been launching hybrid versions of their top-selling models as there was more concern about the price of gasoline and fuel efficiency. That is what prompted the arrival of a hybrid Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, and Volkswagen Jetta.

The consumers weren’t that impressed with the hybrids. Priced at $3,000 higher than the standard Pathfinder, the hybrid offered only four extra mpg, combined city and highway. The EPA also found out that when it comes to highway driving, it only gave an additional 2 mpg.

However, Bedore clarified that dropping the Pathfinder Hybrid doesn’t indicate that the company’s interest in hybrid technology has waned. There are rumors that Nissan has a plan to build a hybrid variant of the smaller Rogue crossover. Bedore didn’t respond to this rumor, saying only that it doesn’t make sense for the hybrid technology to be applied in this model.

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