Nissan expanded Tuesday on last week's announcement of a Nissan Pathfinder Concept that will be introduced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show next month in Detroit.
Among the highlights: a teaser photo -- faded into a black background -- that gives an impression of what Nissan touted in a release as a new platform and dramatic new aerodynamic body.
This is the first redesign for the Pathfinder series since 2005, and it's something that's been long overdue, Nissan spokesman Steve Yaeger said.
It's going to be an all-new vehicle, Yaeger told the International Business Times in a phone interview Tuesday evening. It's a new concept altogether. We're really looking forward to it. It was time. It was time for more than a refresh. This vehicle is not going to bear a lot of resemblance to the previous vehicle.
It was a member of our lineup that was getting the most dated, he added. That'll be a nice addition and update.
Analysts, like Ivan Drury of Edmunds.com, agreed with Yaeger's sentiments. He told the International Business Times in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon that Nissan will likely market the new Pathfinder as a crossover, trying to shed its truck-based platform image.
It looks like it has a bit of a crossover look to it, Drury said. I assume they're doing that to give the impression of better fuel economy. The vehicle's former boxy style, he added, has turned customers away from it since 2008.
For Nissan, the Pathfinder is an iconic brand, ranking in the top two or three of recognizable names among customers, said Yaeger.
But in 2008, the Pathfinder's sales started to dip as gas prices skyrocketed, even to levels above $4 a gallon. Drury said Nissan used to count on the Pathfinder for up to 10 percent of its yearly sales, but that has dipped to between 2 and 3 percent.
It does look like that, he said, when asked if Nissan would market the vehicle as a crossover. It's going to be more competitive in its class. It's kind of the trend.
But Drury stopped short of saying Nissan should count on it like it did in the past. It can develop a market, he said, but the general decline in popularity of Pathfinder-like vehicles could prove too much to overcome.
It'll certainly help to slow struggling sales, Drury said. As far as how long they can last or its importance, it's never going to obtain the status that it used to have. ... As far as future expectations, they shouldn't bank on it becoming a significant player like it used to be 10 or 15 years ago.