SAN JOSE, CA – A new Nissan Quest minivan, as well as a new version of the Infiniti QX56 SUV, are due next year in the U.S., a top Nissan North America Inc. official tell Ward’s.
In the new Quest, “we certainly think we’ve got the right product,” Larry Dominique, vice president-product planning-the Americas, says here during a Nissan 370Z event.
But he is tightlipped about possible features of the Quest, such as a flexible-seating system similar to that of Chrysler Group LLC’s Stow ‘n Go.
“We’ve got to have the kind of size, utility, capacity, capability everyone else has got,” Dominique says.
While the Honda Odyssey is the best-selling single nameplate in the U.S. minivan market so far this year, combined sales of the Chrysler Town & Country and platform-mate Dodge Grand Caravan lead the segment.
Through August, minivan sales were down 33.6% from like-2008, to 293,477 units, more than the overall industry’s 27.8% decline in the period, Ward’s data shows.
The Quest was last new in 2003, while the QX56 debuted in 2004. Nissan has tweaked each model at least once over the years, famously doling out $70 million to redo the interior of the Quest for ’07.
Quest sales tumbled 56.9% through August, while the QX56 was off 41.2%, according to Ward’s data.
Nissan has said it will shift production of both vehicles from its Canton, MS, plant to Japan next year.
Against a backdrop of tightening fuel-economy restrictions, Dominique concedes concern about the impact utility vehicles such as the large QX56 and its twin, the Nissan Armada, might have on the auto maker’s fleet.
While he welcomes the boost Nissan expects from its all-new Nissan Leaf electric vehicle next year, he also suggests a large SUV, such as the rugged international-market Nissan Patrol, could resonate with U.S. buyers as well.