You're in charge, what would you do? - Nissan Edition

Discussion in 'Cars in General' started by Eunos_Cosmo, May 20, 2019.

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Is Nissan in trouble?

  1. Yes, a lot

    7 vote(s)
    29.2%
  2. Yes, a little

    13 vote(s)
    54.2%
  3. Not really

    3 vote(s)
    12.5%
  4. Not at all

    1 vote(s)
    4.2%
  1. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    Apparently, Nissan is flailing lately in the US market. Too much emphasis on rental/fleet sales and cash on the hood offers means their profit margins are at rock bottom. The scary thing for Nissan is that they don't even appear to be working on anything new/exciting to re-invigorate their lineup. In my opinion, this is not the same Nissan that made the 300ZX Twin Turbo, or even the same Nissan that produced the nuclear-grade R35 GTR (even though they still do). I can't think of a single product they make that I would even consider over the competition, apart from the 370z which doesn't really have a competitor (and even though that's true, they still can't sell any of them).

    So I thought it would be interesting to play a hypothetical game of "what would you do?". If you had complete authoritarian control over Nissan, how would you right the ship? This is open ended, structure your response however you want.

    First, I think they need a "there there" product to actually formalize a brand strategy around. The only thing remotely close to that is the R35 GTR, even though it's ancient. I think Nissan needs to imbue every product with some amount of Godzilla as its the only thread of character they have. Think hard-edged and functionalist styling, and a kind of brutal character. So here's some important pieces I think they need, in rough categories:

    Brand-builders:
    -Bring back the XTerra (or, preferably, bring the Patrol nameplate to the US market) and make it a un-apologetic and hyped-up Jeep/Bronco competitor. Make it a real bruiser in the same way the R35 is. This segment is both hot as hell and highly visible right now. Even if they didn't sell a bunch, each sale would be rolling advertisement for the brand. It would have to be completely emblematic of Nissan. This would be priority #1 with a suitable amount of design, engineering, AND MARKETING resources thrown at it. Get it on the cover of all the overlanding mags.
    -Bring back the Hardbody (and call it that) as a characterful compact pickup. There are zero options for this segment currently, and I think a smaller truck could really be popular. Even midsize trucks are getting pricey and too big. As with the Xterra, it should go with a tougher, more masculine style to differentiate itself from the rather soft looking trucks in the midsize segment. Maybe even use the Leaf's tech to give it an electric option. I would definitely be interested in something along these lines. I believe they actually could sell a lot of these.
    -Actually build the idX, but give it a better name. (Bluebird? Silvia?) . As with the hypothetical XTerra, this wouldn't likely be a huge seller (look at the 86) but it could be the perfect vessel to package drooling praise from enthusiasts and automotive journalists. It would get people talking about Nissan with passion. When's the last time that happened....probably when the R35 was released. The idX was a huge, huge emotional swell for Nissan when they unveiled the concept, and if anything has grown even more contemporary with all of the 80s obsession lately.
    -R36 GT-R. I trust Nissan would get this right. It should probably be a hybrid. Nobody makes anything like it, and it really gives Nissan a flagship to build its brand around.
    -Maxima + Z (and kill Infiniti). This is a big one. The Maxima and next-gen Z should get the same platform, and the Maxima should basically replace the Q50 while Infiniti is wound down. The brand is doing nothing and, I would argue, edging towards functional extinction. The Maxima would have to be a hyped up return to form and they should be marketed always together. A pair for enthusiasts.
    -Gloria: Replace both the Q70 and the QX60 with this.

    With those 6 establishing a re-invigorated, visible, and actually serious Nissan brand, the rest of the lineup could start to look more appealing. Volume sellers:

    -Update Rouge leaning on the design of the more niche Xterra/Harbody trucks for street/dirt-cred. This is a big seller for Nissan now, but I think that's probably more to do with its value.
    -Update Frontier - I'm not sure if it would be wise for Nissan to really chase this segment as its highly competitive now. They should have an offering, but I don't think it needs to be #1.
    -Actually market the leaf properly. It seems pretty good, but I never see it promoted. The new one even looks ok. Get it out there Nissan!
    -Update Sentra - but make it good. Maybe have a hot version. (Alternate: Replace with idx? Offer Sedan, Coupe and Wagon bodies like the original 510?)
    -Update Titan - It's a good truck but it looks terrible. Should be more tough looking, not melted.
    -Replace the Q70 & QX60 with a single large, Nissan branded premium SUV, call it the Gloria.
    -Keep: Kicks and whatever other CUVs + vans they have. Do these really need investment? Idk. It doesn't seem to matter if they are good or not. Does anyone care if they are good? Maybe I'm too cynical about this segment.
    -Kill: Altima + Versa. These two models have really pulled the rug out from Nissan, IMO. They just yell "cheap" and "rental" so loudly that I associate the entire Nissan brand with those attributes.


    Generally, I feel Nissan should pair down it's offerings and go for a kind of brawny-tech "spirit of Godzilla" character.

    What do I know. Who else has suggestions?
     
    Xavier2342 likes this.
  2. The_Red_Devil

    The_Red_Devil

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    If Nissan are failing in US , I will just make a RWD GTR with a 600 hp V8.
     
  3. Danoff

    Danoff Premium

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    Probably the Nissan lineup is just not clear enough. Infiniti is clear, but the Nissan models are a mess right now.

    GT-R, Sentra, Leaf, Altima, Maxima, Frontier, Pathfinder, Juke, Murano, Versa, Rogue???

    This is absurd, how can consumers remember this? I would change the lineup to be QR, Qtra, Qf, Qtima, Qxima, Qtier, Qfinder, Quke, Qrano, Qsa, etc. That should boost sales.
     
  4. Tornado

    Tornado

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    I suppose the biggest question is, are you Japanese in this hypothetical? Because I don't want to be indefinitely detained without trial in various Japanese prisons.
     
  5. Beeblebrox237

    Beeblebrox237 Premium

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    At least in the US, Nissan is the Chrysler of Japan. Poor quality and reliability, and they most often get bought by people with bad credit and no money because they can get them for cheap. They don't tend to attract buyers who want something high quality and reliable (partly due to the CVT issues) and they no longer attract enthusiast buyers very much. As much as enthusiasts want to be catered to, they need to be able to compete in the highly competitive consumer market in the most popular segments. Small, midsize, and fullsize cars and small, midsize, and large SUVs. As far as I can tell none of their offerings in those segments are especially competitive which is most likely their biggest problem.
     
  6. Volksauto

    Volksauto

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  7. stonesfan129

    stonesfan129

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    Nissan needs to do like Toyota and Honda, and actually make reliable designs that will last a long time.
     
    Xavier2342 likes this.
  8. GTV0819

    GTV0819

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    You forgot to include the Titan and the Armada in the lineup.

    Some of the current models they have in the US, like the Frontier, actually has a newer model that is already being offered in other regions, mostly in Asia. It makes me wonder why they still haven't considered into bringing it there since that truck in that guise has already existed for more than a decade, I suppose.
     
  9. Danoff

    Danoff Premium

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    Qtan, Qmada.

    Edit:

    Just to keep people on their toes, we're gonna keep the Nissan Kicks name. Everything else in the Nissan and Infiniti lineup get a Q, and the Kicks is just the Kicks. No Q.
     
  10. Joey D

    Joey D Premium

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    I think Nissan could start by not offering cars that haven't had any significant design improvements in over 10 years. I mean for some reason they still make the Frontier and have it on a platform that first came out in 2004. Other models are aging poorly too including the Z car and the GT-R. At least the Sentra and Altima are still pretty new despite that hardly anyone buys sedans anymore.

    Really out of the whole Nissan lineup the only thing that's really any interest to me is the Leaf. The GT-R was incredibly impressive when it first launched, but now it's kind of an old hat.
     
    Xavier2342 likes this.
  11. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    Maybe the Versa can be renamed the QAnon?
     
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  12. stonesfan129

    stonesfan129

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    All I can say about Nissan is that they don't make em like they used to.
     
  13. Fastcarguy

    Fastcarguy Premium

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    The biggest problem I have with Nissan is their dated interiors on some models. The 370Z has not really changed since it launched.

    2009 interior:
    Nissan-370Z-2009-1280-31.jpg
    2019 interior:
    Nissan-370Z_Heritage_Edition-2019-1280-1b.jpg
    Quite frankly, to go 10 years and only put a nicer screen in the middle is unacceptable.
     
  14. GTV0819

    GTV0819

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    Does the last MY Infiniti G37 coupe give the same impression? :idea:
     
  15. Giygas

    Giygas

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    How do you guys feel about that Z-crossover idea that popped up a couple years ago?
     
  16. CLowndes888

    CLowndes888

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    That's absolutely disgusting for a 2019 interior. No wonder why their doing soo poorly.
     
  17. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    Ouch. Operating income down 98.5% year over year at Nissan.

    I'm practically convinced we are approaching recession territory at this point. Probably within 6 months.
     
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  18. TonyJZX

    TonyJZX

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    Nissan are in with Renault and have partnerships with Mercedes Mitsubishi and all the other turkeys like Dacia and whatever is in Russia.

    And they are fairly decent with the EVs. I think they'll be fine.

    Outside of the US they do well in RHD markets and developing world.

    US I think they have too much decent competition.

    Over here Nissan have like more than half a dozen types of SUV CUV mid sized truck 4x4 etc. so that's apparently where the money is.
     
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  19. Snaeper

    Snaeper Premium

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    I think, if I were in charge of Nissan (for the sake of this, I'll be assuming total control of Nissan's North American operations) then I'd focus on a few core factors and play to Nissan's strengths.

    Entry Level and brand building: First, I think Nissan is actually in a good position to help secure their brand for the future. The Nissan Kicks and the continued marketing of the Versa and Sentra would be paramount. These are all brand-building cars from the bottom end, and my first priority would be to make sure that buyers of these three models would have enjoyable experiences and want to continue purchasing Nissan products. My priority would be to keep them on the affordable end of the spectrum, while ensuring they have smart implementation of technology to make them appealing purchases against more dynamically competent machinery like the Honda Civic. With so many players abandoning the small car segment, it pays to persevere and be the last man standing.

    Perception: To aid this effort, I would consider on implementing a stronger warranty to assuage fears of my products being unreliable. The secondary focus, of course, being to up the quality and reliability, but having a tangible number to market to people means more. Mitsubishi and Hyundai/Kia are there and Nissan should be as well since they aren't playing in the same field as Honda and Toyota when it comes to brand perception in this regard.

    Performance: With the entry level products out of the way, it's time to take a hard look at the rest of the model line up. I think the 370Z and Maxima go the way of the Dodo bird. If anything, it'll be a Camaro-move in which Nissan can take a breather and spend the time to build anticipation for potential replacements. Halo vehicles should be Halo vehicles, but there's nothing that the 370Z and Maxima (in their current forms) are doing that is worth passing around the model line up. An R36 GT-R would be my focus for a Halo vehicle, after which the 370Z and Maxima would follow adopting R36 tech but at a more available price. A sportier, more dynamic electric car would take priority, take the IDx but with a re-tuned Leaf powertrain and either AWD or RWD.

    SUV's: These have become the heart of the market and, like my competitors, would be the focus of my efforts. Nissan is in a great position already with a broad line up of products. As someone mentioned earlier, though, I'd definitely bring back the Xterra. The 4Runner, despite it's age, keeps managing to set sales records. With the return of the Bronco, the broadening of the Jeep line up, and the cache already there for my brand, there's no reason a return of the Xterra, paired with a new Nissan Midsize truck, wouldn't work. The Murano would take over the hole left by the Maxima while work would be put in to introduce more products to fill any noticeable niches (although I'd avoid a return of any convertibles).

    Trucks: The new Titan isn't doing well, yet the aging Frontier likely leaves competitor's product planning departments scratching their heads with it's sales numbers. I don't think I'd give up on the Titan just yet, but I would soldier forward with the thought process of the Frontier being my only product. I'd leverage my relationship with Cummins to put their 2.8 I4 in my Midsize. My plan would be to introduce a Frontier and Frontier XD, with the Frontier continuing to be an excellent value play in the Midsize segment, while the Frontier XD sits between Midsizers and half tons in terms of capability. I might even entertain the idea of slotting a V8 under the hood ala Dodge Dakota's of yesteryear.

    Electric: In my opinion, this is a primary focus. The success of the Leaf and the growth of my Electric portfolio takes precedence over performance cars for now. The R36 GT-R could be used to showcase an exciting edge in green cars, but that's the extent of it. An Electric Sedan and SUV would be the primary products on my radar. I'd even consider keeping the Maxima name around for my electric sedan to show it off as a Tesla-capable rival. I'd also consider resurrecting the Quest minivan but downsizing it to offer it more towards smaller families and for urban transportation. I think the van body style is most suited for the coming automated driving styles and electric propulsion.

    In summary, my model lineup would look like this:
    ICE Cars - Versa, Sentra, Altima
    E Vehicles - Leaf, Maxima (Maxim-e?), SX/ZX Successor, Quest (sized akin to Gen3 rather than Gen4)
    ICE SUVs - Kicks, Rogue Sport, Rogue, Murano, Xterra, Pathfinder, Armada
    Halo - R36 GT-R (PHEV akin to V-GT)
    Trucks/Vans - Frontier, Frontier XD, Titan (maybe), NV200 Wagon, NV200 Van, NV3500 Van, NV3500 Wagon
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  20. GranTurNismo

    GranTurNismo Premium

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    A big issue which plagues Nissan's reputation in America is, many consumers perceive Nissan products (specifically the Altima, Sentra, and Rogue) as nothing more than cheap, dull rental cars, which is a pretty accurate viewpoint. Most rental cars in the USA nowadays are Nissans rather than Chevrolets or Chrysler products; nine times out of ten, if you're going to rent a mid-size sedan, it'll be an Altima. Rental cars have and always will be perceived as bare-bones, dull, and not very desirable as a daily driver.

    Anyways, there's no denying that a new Altima tends to be a lower quality car and worse looking than the CamCord or Sonata, the Sentra is a lower quality and worse looking Civic or Corolla, and the Rogue is a worse looking CR-V or RAV-4 or Ford Escape. Nissan's styling game has been pretty poor for the past decade; their products may not be Pontiac Aztek-level ghastly looking, but generally, they look bloated, fussy, and plain unattractive. The same could be said for most new Infiniti products. And as other members have pointed out, many Nissan buyers do tend to be the type who absolutely need a new car but have very little to spend or have a damaged credit, hence why most Nissan models on the road tend to be base trims.

    Also, they need to just get rid of the damn CVT, for all models. At this point, most of American car buyers see Nissan CVTs as unreliable and even if Nissan makes a truly good CVT, that reputation will never truly go away. They should stick with traditional automatics and manuals.

    Solution:

    Versa- Drop it from the lineup. Subcompact base-level cars are almost always unprofitable, especially one that starts at under $12k. Same goes for the Versa Note.
    Leaf- Keep as is since it just got a total redesign.
    Sentra- A new Sentra should be coming soon, which seems to be a step above the existing model, which is good. Make it as competitive as possible with the Civic in terms of fit and finish as well as price. It's no secret that the current Civic is a far better car than the outgoing Sentra. The new Sentra should also include a NISMO package, but much more improved. Make it flashier, give it 225-260hp from a turbocharged four, make it lighter, as well as give it more performance bits. The Sentra NISMO should fill the void of the Focus ST which will no longer be offered in the States.
    Altima- keep it as is, since it just got a total redesign, other than this minor change. Get rid of hubcaps for the base package and replace them with 17-inch alloys. This may not seem like much, but since most Altimas on the road are base trim, this improvement will certainly liven up the Altima's image.
    Maxima- give it a full redesign. Given that American marques are rapidly getting rid of sedans in this segment, and that the new Avalon's ugliness would result in it's sales reducing, now is a better time than ever for the Maxima to shine. The redesigned Maxima would be aimed at the target buyers of "premium" mid-sized sedans, old people. It would be conservatively styled but not too dull, would not be at all flashy or have sporty pretenses, and would be priced very competitively, slightly over 30k. It's main competition would be the Lexus ES. Keep it FWD, but give it AWD as an option, too.
    Juke- will be coming soon so I can't say much about it, but keep it competitively priced and differentiated enough from the Kicks. Bring back the Juke NISMO as well.
    Kicks- Keep as is, but give it AWD as an option.
    Rogue Sport- Keep as is, but redesign in a few years. It doesn't need one quite yet.
    Rogue- total redesign needed. It definitely needs to step it up in terms of styling, more so than any Nissan model. Give it AWD as standard, just like the Forester and RAV4. Make it slightly larger as well.
    Murano- like Rogue, give it a total redesign, but styling should be much more evolutionary.
    Pathfinder- give it a total redesign, but more revolutionary than evolutionary. Make it bigger, having it be the size of a Durango or Explorer, and slightly more upmarket as well.
    Armada- Kill it. Outdated and sells poorly, and redundant being that the Infiniti QX80 exists.
    Frontier- urgently needs a total redesign, making it as competitive as possible with the Ranger and Colorado. Mid-size trucks are selling well, and a Frontier done right could be a real sales success.
    Titan- give it a minor facelift, for now.
    370Z- Kill it. Too outdated, and not really competitive with anything.
    GTR- Give it a full redesign. This may sound controversial, but I think Nissan should go full C8 and make the R36 GT-R mid-engined, but still have AWD. Power wouldn't be much higher, but it would be far more aerodynamic, and should be more competitive with the NSX, R8, and Huracan. A NISMO package will also be offered.

    New Models:

    The XTerra would be brought back, based on the next-gen Frontier. A bare bones, off-road oriented SUV could be a real sales success and give something like the Wrangler a run for it's money.

    An ultra-full size SUV based on the Titan, which would compete with the Suburban and Expedition. Being that those vehicles sell highly and that there has never been any Japanese ultra full-size SUVs, there is a lot of room for this to be profitable. Not sure what the name should be, though.

    A bare-bones, rear-wheel-drive, compact performance coupe, something smaller and less powerful than the 370Z and more competitive with the GT86. Make it a true drivers' car, not something too powerful but lightweight, good handling, and cheap (below 30k). Two levels of performance would be offered; a "base" version with a naturally-aspirated four making around 200hp, and a "NISMO" option, with a turbocharged four making 250hp, and more performance bits. Maybe even give it a nostalgic name, like "180SX" or "Silvia".
     
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  21. GTV0819

    GTV0819

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    So Nissan is currently in shambles right now, almost a year after Ghosn got exiled from his position in the company.
     
  22. Darla Starch

    Darla Starch Premium

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    How much free reign do I have?

    Assuming I've got all of it, we'd start several years ago:
    • Three brands under the main Nissan family by spinning the Leaf off into it's own sub-brand devoted to electric cars and working out the kinks of a post-ICE post-automated automotive world.
    • The one weird quirk I'd do is to kill the blacked-out fad. Nope. Can't do it from the factory. We'll certainly sell you the parts to do it post-sale though if you're feeling bold, have to do sneaky profits somewhere ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    LEAF:
    • Cars get named off of types of trees. Four models, the occasional fifth one:
      -Something cheery and smol
      -the current Leaf as hatchback keeps it's role
      -FAMILY HAULER
      -Utility workhorse
      -The occasional show-offy avant-garde product designed to get attention to the brand.
    NISSAN:
    • Juke can stay because weird is in. Kicks can stay too, debating on if they should be merged as sub-models of one thing.
    • Rogue Sport dies, normal Rogue can stay as it's the most ironically named vehicle on the road.
    • Murano is debatable. Either cancel, make it the Quest replacement, or shift to Leaf.
    • Pathfinder is my new off-roader thingy, take it the path of the Wrangler as more of an utilitarian thing.
    • Armada is dead-o.
    • Frontier stays, fast track redesign, extended cab is the biggest cab you can get.
    • Titan stays.
    • Versa sedan gets demoted to fleet duty, only available by factory order. Effectively cancelled. Hatchback can stay.
    • Sentra, dunno what to do with it. Maybe for giggles make a convertible version.
    • Altima can hang about, get a spicier variant in.
    • Maxima can stay. FAST TRACKING A WAGON FOR FUN.
    • 370Z dies for the time-being. Not sure where to bang-up it's replacement between Nissan or Leaf.
    • GT-R gets a fast-tracked temp R36 by...dunno...M-B seems hip at the moment to borrow car components from for these applications, use the AMG GT as a basis while an R37 is being pushed through. Just something to update it until a proper successor can be made.
    INFINITI:
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. In all honesty, might slowly phase it out and divert this money towards Leaf.
     
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  23. TS050

    TS050 Premium

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    I honestly really like this idea
     
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  24. Cowboy

    Cowboy Premium

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    So you want to kill off the Armada.

    And basically bring it back again :confused:
     
  25. GranTurNismo

    GranTurNismo Premium

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    Nope. First off, when I say “ultra full size” I mean the size of a Suburban. The Chevrolet Suburban is a full 16 inches longer than the Armada (224 inches compared to 208). Second, even though the second-gen Armada is relatively new to the lineup, it is still outdated, being that it is merely a facelifted version of a car that came out in 2011 (Infiniti QX56/QX80). The SUV I am proposing would not be called the Armada, and instead be much longer, more truck-like, and more modern compared to the existing Armada.
     
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  26. GTV0819

    GTV0819

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    If you think the Armada is outdated, then so is Toyota's Sequoia which essentially is still the same SUV a decade ago. Just saying. But yes, the Armada needs a new model so it will be on par with fresher SUVs like the Suburban and Expedition, although I disagree that it should come in the length of the former. The wheelbase is already fine as is, because should the wheelbase be longer like the Sub, it will just look like a raised wagon rather than an SUV that would look somewhat sporty.
     
  27. GranTurNismo

    GranTurNismo Premium

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    I never tried to imply that the Sequoia somehow wasn't outdated...
     
  28. GTV0819

    GTV0819

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    Yes I know but I only mentioned that so to imply that the Armada isn't alone when it comes to being a dated SUV.
     
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  29. GranTurNismo

    GranTurNismo Premium

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    A lot of big Japanese SUVs are outdated, come to think of it. The Lexus LX has been the same (other than facelifts) since '08 and the GX, since 2010.
     
  30. GTV0819

    GTV0819

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    Sadly, that's true. I think it's also the same for some of their midsized counterparts, like the 4Runner or Pathfinder. The only fresh ones among them are the new Highlander and the 3-year old Pilot, although there's more to mention to out there. But for Nissan, they really should revamp their SUV lineup in the NA market by releasing newer models that should be more striving amongst consumers if they want to stand out again.
     
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