2015 is the end of the line for the Nissan Xterra, according to a report from Edmunds.
While there’s little information out there about the rationale for ending the Xterra, Edmunds is claiming the action is being fueled by “regulatory reasons.” Both safety and environmental standards have been increasing for the automotive industry, which apparently has triggered Nissan to stop selling the SUV in the United States.
The news is really not that shocking, considering that the Xterra has been suffering slower and slower sales in America. For example, in January of 2015 Nissan sold only 998 Xterras, compared to 1,518 in January of 2014. That’s a 34.3 percent drop. In December of last year the model saw a 28.4 percent decrease in sales, and for the entire year of 2014 Nissan reported that Xterra sales were down 7.1 percent. While the automaker hasn’t said anything about stopping sales of the model in the U.S., some are speculating it has to do with not being able to justify the costs of increasingly stringent federal government regulations.
Toyota let the FJ Cruiser, which was a direct competitor to the Xterra, ride into the big garage in the sky at the end of 2014. The sad truth is that many consumers prefer the comfort and better road-holding abilities of car-based crossovers like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Pathfinder than hardcore SUVs with a truck-based body-on-frame since they generally consume more fuel, even though they provide better off-road abilities.
On the other hand, the Jeep Wrangler is selling incredibly well. The truth is that back when body-on-frame SUVs were popular, most people were using them to pick up groceries and cruise mall parking lots, not to crawl over big rocks and ford rivers. With the death of the Xterra, Jeep could see even more of an uplift in sales. As we recently reported, GM is supposedly considering resurrecting the Hummer brand so it can go head-to-head with Jeep and get a piece of that market segment. In the meantime, Nissan’s tapped out.