Nissan Mulls Xterra's Future

  • 2013 Nissan Xterra Picture

    2013 Nissan Xterra Picture

    Nissan is mulling the future of the Xterra. | September 20, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Nissan will decide within a year whether it will replace the long-in-the-tooth Xterra or let it slowly fade away, Edmunds has learned.
  • Poor sales and fuel economy concerns threaten the future of the Xterra, according to Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning for Nissan Americas.
  • Loing says Nissan will make a decision about the future of the Xterra in the next six months to a year.

FARMINGTON HILLS, Michigan — Nissan will decide within a year whether it will replace the long-in-the-tooth Xterra or let it slowly fade away, Edmunds has learned.

The SUV has had minimal changes since the current generation went on sale in 2005. Nissan generally redesigns or significantly upgrades its vehicles every five to seven years.

Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning for Nissan Americas, said that poor sales, fuel economy concerns and the possible lack of partners threaten the future of the Xterra.

"The most difficult part is it is U.S.-only, so even if the volume in the U.S. is good, you need to make friends around the globe to get the resources" to help develop the replacement, Loing said.

He added: "There are plans to replace it, there are always plans, (but) I am not sure it will happen. I would say in the next six months to a year" Nissan will make the decision.

The Xterra debuted in 1999, aimed at off-roaders wanting a tough, roughed SUV. However, Xterra's disappointing sales are difficult to ignore, Loing said.

"The first generation was a huge success," Loing said. "What we see now, whether us or the (Toyota) FJ Cruiser for that matter, is the same environment. They are struggling."

Nissan sold 88,578 Xterras in 2000, the vehicle's best sales year, but last year the automaker sold about 17,200. The FJ Cruiser went on sale in 2006, tallying about 56,200 vehicles that year. That compares with last year's sales of approximately 13,600 vehicles.

With high gasoline prices, Loing said it is a difficult market, "especially now, body-on-frame is a constraint" because it increases the weight of the vehicle and hurts fuel economy. The Xterra rides on a body-on-frame platform.

The two-wheel-drive 2013 Xterra is rated at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway, according to the EPA. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. A 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 is standard in all models. Specifications and pricing for the 2014 Xterra have not been released.

Automakers are under pressure from the U.S. government to increase the fuel economy of their cars and trucks. Each is required to boost the mpg of their combined vehicle fleet 4 percent annually through 2025.

The Xterra's murky future leads to the question of whether the redesigned 2014 Nissan Rogue could serve as a replacement for the body-on-frame SUV.

"I would not suggest Rogue is a replacement for the Xterra," wrote Dan Bedore, a Nissan spokesman, in response to a query from Edmunds. "They live together in the showroom today and will continue for the foreseeable future.

Xterra has a unique place in the Nissan lineup and has an enthusiastic fan base inside and outside the company."

Edmunds says: Expect a decision on the future of the Nissan Xterra in fairly short order.


  • adw_squared adw_squared Posts:

    I bought an Xterra in 2002 and loved every second of it...until gas prices routinely stayed above $2 /gal. I went with the supercharged engine, as the only other choice was fairly anemic - but the supercharger = premium fuel. I traded in the Xterra in 2005 for...a VW Jetta TDI. At this very moment, I am in the market for an SUV, and I am only considering Diesel-powered options, which means my beloved Xterra is off the list. Memo to Nissan - you guys were all set to bring a Diesel Maxima/Altima a few years ago, and then got cold feet. Really, REALLY bad decision, because now you have nothing to plop in to the Xterra!

  • markstip markstip Posts:

    Hmmmm, Nissan has not even signifiantly updated let alone reengineer the Xterra or Frontier in forever and they wonder why they are not selling. A Modern Powerful and Fuel effcient Xterra and Frontier would sell if done properly. The Xterra could easally merge with the Patrol and sell in other markets. New partner Mercedes Benz should be interested as it needs an answer to the VW Amorak and MB could usally market a more rugged SUV.(as well a more affordable version of the original G -wagon perhaps!) A Mercedies Diesel in a Xterra or Frontier sounds pretty sweet to me! Get with it Nissan!

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I own a 2005 Xterra and it is a good off-road vehicle, but that VQ derived motor loves fuel. Thing is the market for them is small. Most folk today want a less utilitarian interior and certainly want better gas mileage. I can accept the mileage for what the vehicle can do. My only complaint is that it was never updated to take a coil-spring back end. Should the Xterra go away then the market for a replacement gets rather narrow. I'm not a fan of the FJ, the latest 4Runner has grown some unhelpful overhangs so I would be left with rolling the dice on a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk or GC diesel. Losing the Xterra would really cramp my choices, so I would like the new model to have a coil rear and a diesel motor. I know, dream on. ;-)

  • festus67 festus67 Posts:


  • exoman1 exoman1 Posts:

    I had an 02' manual transmission with 200k miles which I just replaced. I bought a 14' Xterra S with automatic transmission and had my first 200 mile highway drive. I kept speed to 70mph on cruise control, level drive in Wisconsin, no wind to speak of, and happy to report 21.3mpg. This drive in my 02' would have yielded 17-18mpg, so I'm satisfied with this 20% improvement.

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