Nissan Xterra Living on Borrowed Time

The Nissan Xterra may not have long to live hints Nissan product boss Larry Dominique. In a recent interview with Ward’s, Dominique commented that Xterra segment is, “falling apart.”

According to Ward’s internal data, the mid-size SUV category in which the Xterra fits totaled just 211,042 vehicles last year, compared to an all-time high of 1.65 million in 2000. Back then Nissan sold 88,578 Xterra models, while so far this year it has managed to move just 12,186. Surprisingly, however, there seems to be a mini-boom in the SUV segment as of late with that number up 42% over a ear ago.

Dominique did comment that execs at Nissan are big fans of the SUV and plan to keep it in the product lineup or as long as possible. But, “With (new U.S. corporate average fuel economy rules) Xterra’s going to be a tough vehicle to keep around.”

The plan is to exceed the upcoming 34.1 mpg fleet fuel economy standard for 2016 with high-volume Sentra and Altima models, however, Nissan already has to overachieve in those areas to make up for the Titan’s it sells.

Dominique did reassure ans of the Frontier and Pathfinder that those models are safe. Nissan currently sits at third in the compact pickup segment with the Frontier and with Ford preparing to axe the Ranger, Frontier sales are likely to spike. The truck has already seen a sales increase that’s up 48.5 percent so far this year. (The Toyota Tacoma currently leads that segment).

As for the Pathfinder, it will “live on,” although, “How it will live on, wait to see,” says Dominique, perhaps hinting that the big SUV will follow Ford’s Explorer and be transformed into a car-based crossover.

[Source: Ward’s]