Nissan will wait for “six months to a year” before deciding whether the aging Xterra should be replaced or if it will be left alone to die a natural death, Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning for Nissan Americas, told Edmunds. The current generation started selling in 2005 and has only received slight changes.
Typically, Nissan redesigns or gives major upgrades to its vehicles every five to seven years. Loing said that the Xterra’s fate is hindered by low sales, fuel economy worries and the possible lack of partners. Loing added that since the Xterra is only available in the U.S., it won’t matter that it sells well since developing the replacement would require plenty of resources and may need worldwide partners.
He also said that he isn’t sure that the company’s plans will ever be realized. The Xterra made its debut in 1999 and is targeted at off-road fans who want a tough, rugged SUV. The first generation was very successful but its sales have been “disappointing.”
He pointed out that the Xterra and the (Toyota) FJ Cruiser are both “struggling.” In 2000, Nissan sold 88,578 Xterras (its best sales year ever). But in 2012, it only achieved sales of around 17,200.
In 2006, the FJ Cruiser went on sale. For that year, it sold about 56,200 units. In comparison, it sold about 13,600 vehicles last year. Loing cited rising gasoline price as a major hurdle, especially that body-on-frame used on the Xterra makes the vehicle heavier and hampers fuel economy.
The EPA said that the two-wheel-drive 2013 Xterra returns 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway. A five-speed automatic transmission is offered as standard. All models have a 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 as standard. Nissan has yet to unveil the specifications and pricing for the 2014 Xterra. The U.S. government is pressuring automakers to improve the fuel economy of their cars and trucks.
They’re all expected to raise the mpg of their combined vehicle fleet 4% each year through 2025. The challenges that the Xterra faces bring to light the question of whether the redesigned 2014 Nissan Rogue could replace the body-on-frame SUV. Nissan spokesman Dan Bedore said that he won’t consider the Rogue as a replacement for the Xterra. [source: Edmunds]