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Body-on-frame Nissan SUV not US-bound

by Ronan Glon

The SUV wasn't designed with the American market in mind.

The widespread rumors that claimed Nissan would sell the pickup-based Terra (pictured) in the United States as a successor to the Xterra were false. Company officials explained the SUV simply wasn't developed with the American market in mind so selling it here is more difficult than putting it on a boat and printing market-specific sales brochures.

"Currently, that is out of our scope," replied Hironori Awano, the Terra's chief engineer, when asked by Automotive News about the possibility of selling the model in the United States. He conceded it's right-sized for the American market but added it's not the right model to help Nissan surf the SUV wave.

"The U.S. market is one of the toughest, not just because of crash tests but also because of customers expectations," he explained. Masato Takahashi, the Terra's lead designer, told Automotive News that his team focused on emerging markets, not America. The SUV won't pass a U.S. crash test without costly modifications and it may not suit the tastes of the average SUV buyer.

That doesn't mean Nissan won't replace the Xterra sooner or later. The Xmotion concept introduced at the 2018 Detroit auto show loosely previewed what the firm's 4Runner rival could look like if it ever happens. Michael Bunce, Nissan's senior vice president of product planning, said in 2017 that his team is "very, very closely looking" at the Xterra's segment as a way to lure millennial men into showrooms.

Until that happens, buyers who dream of exploring the great outdoors in a body-on-frame Nissan SUV will need to move to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, or one of the other markets in which the Terra is sold.

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