Nissan dealers want Xterra back

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Nowadays, market frenzy has ushered in the recovery of long-stalled SUVs such as Ford Mustang and Land Rover Defender. Some wishful Nissan dealers are calling for the restoration of their long-out-of-stock models-the stylish Xterra SUV.

According to the dealer, the automaker is listening.

This sporty sports car based on pickup trucks was once called “the car to save Nissan” because it brought sales infusions to the struggling brand in 1999. However, in the 2015 model year, the introduction of new safety regulations and a Production was discontinued after a series of accidents. The focus of consumers ranges from truck-based utility vehicles to lighter all-in-one crossovers.

Nissan is shifting to the mid-sized sporting goods market.

But after this segment has grown by 61% in the past decade, this sentiment is changing.

Tyler Slade, operating partner of Tim Dahle Nissan Southtowne in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, said Nissan will continue in view of the sales success of the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner Make money.

Slade said: "Saki utility's body frame utility market is booming, and we missed the brand's main business."

Scott Smith, chairman of the Nissan National Dealer Advisory Committee, wants to see the automaker profit from the revival of current iconic models such as Mustang and Defender.

Smith, president of the Smith Motors Group near Atlanta, said: "Apart from the 1970 Z car, Xterra is the best transmitter we have ever made."

. "It would be great if Nissan could realize that Xterra should come back."

The dealer committee conveyed this enthusiasm to Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Company, at a meeting this month. Gupta, Nissan's second-largest executive in the world, has no doubt about returning Xterra to the United States.

Gupta told the dealer: "We have discussed Xterra, but haven't decided yet."

Gupta knows Nissan's global truck capabilities very well. Before becoming the chief operating officer of a car manufacturer, he was responsible for the global commercial vehicle strategy of the Renault-Nissan alliance. During this position, he led the research and development of leisure observers, which is a bit like Xterra, which is a similar mid-sized frame SUV launched in China and Southeast Asia in 2018. Its name is? Nissan Terra.

A Nissan spokesperson said: "We always consider other new models based on market opportunities, but we are currently focusing on core market segments."

Xterra, which was born in the United States, was launched in 1999 as a low investment project to help retailers because Nissan almost avoided bankruptcy. SUVs equipped with large roof racks and washable cargo areas attract the attention of young outdoor buyers-the holy grail of every automaker.

Larry Dominique, chief executive officer of PSA North America, recalled that Xterra's peculiar theater-style elevated rear seats made it stand out. This was a necessary result. He had served as Xterra's career in the Nissan American Product Planning Office. Head of development.

Dominic said: "We have a small budget for developing Xterra, about 40 million US dollars, because we expect we will sell about 40,000 units."

In order to reduce development costs, the SUV is built on the existing short-wheelbase Frontier pickup chassis. But Frontier's rear axle and leaf spring design meant that engineers had to raise the Xterra's rear seat by 75 mm. As a result, the roof must be raised by the same amount to give Xterra a unique rear bumper.

Dominic said: "The reason Xterra has become somewhat iconic in appearance is the side effect of our lack of money."

But Xterra proved to be an unexpected success, far exceeding Nissan’s initial sales forecast, which peaked at 88,578 in 2000. It has been a high-volume product for retailers for many years.

Slade believes that given the renewed enthusiasm for retro off-road vehicles, the updated Xterra can increase sales of 70,000 to 80,000 vehicles per year. He pointed out that since Ford announced that it would buy back the SUV in 25 years, the Bronco has received 190,000 bookings. Ford officials told dealers early last year that they expected sales of Bronco models to exceed 200,000 by 2021.

Slade said: "The Mustang suddenly looks like a new Tesla model." "Everyone wants to deposit a deposit."

Distributors believe that the revitalized Xterra will bring two things that Nissan brand lacks: buzz and profit. Like the GT-R sports car, Xterra will become a brand builder-attracting consumers' attention, and Nissan can profit from the entire product portfolio.

Smith said: "Xterra brings people to showrooms that we have never seen before, and it drives sales of model production." "We still have a lot of people asking for it."

With light trucks approaching 80% of the market, the concept of car motion sickness is shifting from sports cars to high-performance trucks and climbing vehicles.

Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at JD Power, said: "A long time ago, many automakers may have been sorting out the off-road vehicles in their corporate files, and Nissan Motor Company’s Xterra reputation was almost in front of it. ."

Dominic said that Xterra has played a unique role and may bring incremental sales.

He said: "Customers in this field are looking for capabilities."

Nostalgia can bring huge profits to the brand. Slade said: "The profit margin in the off-road SUV segment is second only to trucks." "The Wrangler's profit margin is twice that of [Nissan] Rogue."

Putting aside the wishes of dealers, resurrecting Xterra will be a challenge for Nissan, which is in financial difficulty. The Japanese brand is working hard to restore its US business, which fell 33% last year, the biggest drop in its history. At the same time, Nissan is in the process of a two-year product restart, which involves updating 70% of its product portfolio, including a redesign of Frontier.

Nissan officials in Japan denied the idea of ​​bringing China's Terra to the United States as the successor to Xterra.

Terra Chief Vehicle Engineer Hironori Awano said in 2018: “Currently, this is beyond our scope. The US market is one of the toughest markets, not only because of crash tests, but also because of customer expectations.”

Another question is how many models with off-road capabilities can be supported in the US market.

Sam Fiorani, vice president of AutoForecast Solutions, pointed out: "Jeeps prove that the market is deep. Ford is looking to expand the market."

But he wanted to know, "Is there really a third "reasonable price" off-road vehicle market?"

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