nissan-faces-renewed-calls-to-bring-back-xterra-suv

MORGAN J. SEGALCar and Driver

Dealers are asking Nissan to bring back the Xterra, according to Automotive News, as buyers are scooping up all the off-road-oriented vehicles coming to market.The Xterra was discontinued in 2015 after sales steadily fell following a redesign in 2005.The Xterra, and particularly the Pro-4X model, was a rugged SUV that offered a rear locking differential, all-terrain tires, and skid plates. Ever since the Nissan Xterra went out of production in 2015, fans of the rugged off-roader have been calling for its return. Back in 2017, Nissan’s North American vice president gave those fans some hope in suggesting the Xterra might come back. That hasn’t happened yet, and now Nissan dealers, according to Automotive News, are asking the company to bring back the small body-on-frame SUV as buyers clamor for capable, adventure-oriented models.

These calls come as other automakers have revived prior SUV nameplates for new rugged models. Ford recently brought back the Bronco and Land Rover has brought back the Defender, and even many crossovers have jumped onto the off-road trend. The Toyota RAV4, for instance, now boasts a TRD Off-Road spec, and the Kia Sorento offers an X-Line appearance package. U.S. sales of the Xterra steadily declined after the introduction of its second generation in 2005. In its last model year, 2015, the Xterra posted 10,672 total sales, compared to 202,702 units sold for one of the most popular vehicles in this segment, the Jeep Wrangler. In the case of the new Ford Bronco, which hasn’t yet gone on sale, Ford reported that it received 190,000 reservations for the SUV as of October of 2020. SUVs and trucks were estimated to hit 79 percent of the total new-vehicle sales in 2020, according to J.D. Power.

Nissan X-Terra (global model)Nissan

Nissan does currently offer a global model called the X-Terra, but it doesn’t share much with the discontinued Xterra beyond a name. It is based on the Navara, the global version of the Frontier pickup. If Nissan were to bring the Xterra back to the U.S., we think it would be based on the U.S. version of the Frontier, just as it was previously. The U.S. Frontier is set to receive a redesign for 2022 after getting a new powertrain for the 2020 model year. This hypothetical new Xterra would likely continue to offer a Pro-4X model, an off-road trim which remains on the Frontier and the Titan pickups. Previously, this model came standard with four-wheel drive and a locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks, and skid plates. All Xterras came standard with a burly-looking roof rack and a roof storage compartment, along with a plastic-lined cargo area for easy cleaning.

Nonetheless, it’s expensive to introduce new vehicles and Nissan may not be in the position to do so. Global sales for the brand fell 10.6 percent in 2019 and U.S. sales dropped 33.2 percent in 2020 (global sales for 2020 are not yet available). For fiscal year 2019, losses were more than $6 billion and Nissan projected a similar result for fiscal year 2020.
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