By on November 20, 2014

Nissan Quest sales chartOctober 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011.

Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan sold less often than the Quest in October, not even the cancelled Mazda 5.

Year-to-date, the Quest leads the Kia Sedona by a slim margin of 633 units, but that figure will swiftly flip: the Sedona outsold the Quest by 2006 units in October thanks to the arrival of an all-new third-gen model.

Historically, Nissan has sold Quests in much greater numbers, but it’s never been a pillar of the minivan movement. When 46,430 Quests were sold in calendar year 2004, that represented just 4.2% of total minivan sales. (It’s unlikely Nissan will even sell 10,000 in 2014.) The Quest’s market share during the first ten months of 2014: 1.8%.

It’s too early to say Nissan USA has given up on the Quest. There is a MY2015 variant. Indeed, that 2015 model accounts for 38% of the current stock listed on Cars.com. But this isn’t a product you’ll find in large numbers in Nissan showrooms across America.

North of the border, in the much stronger minivan market that is Canada, the Quest was first moved to special order status and has since been removed from the company’s consumer website. It’s not even mentioned in the company’s 2015 product plans.

2014 Nissan Quest grey rearThe numbers? In the U.S. in October 2014, only 370 Quests were sold, down from 812 in October 2013 and 395 in September of this year. Nissan has reached four digits with the Quest only three times this year after averaging 1073 monthly Quest sales in 2013, 1523/month in 2012, and 1131/month in the latter 83% of 2011.

The vast majority of automakers would truly struggle to break into this category. The fact that Nissan’s been a long-time player seems to make little difference, perhaps because of the avant-garde styling of the last two iterations. Even during a month in which sales of the fifth-ranked van (Sedona) jumped 251% to 2376 units, the top four owned a staggering 92% of the segment, with Chrysler and Dodge grabbing slightly more than half of all minivan sales.

The fourth-gen Quest has flopped, and now it’s being kicked while it’s flat on the mat. Is it the looks; the difficult task of balancing low demand with the need to increase supply if greater volume is to be generated; the simple fact that it’s not a Grand Caravan, Town & Country, Sienna, or Odyssey; or something else altogether?

It’s not as though the overall Nissan brand is struggling to conquer greater swathes of the U.S. market. Few brands with mainstream appeal are growing faster.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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36 Comments on “Nissan Quest U.S. Sales Reach 45-Month Low In October 2014...”


  • avatar
    VW16v

    The news regarding recent crash test results will not help sales for the Nissan Quest.

    https://autos.yahoo.com/news/minivan-crash-test-among-worst-050000785.html

    https://autos.yahoo.com/news/poor-crash-test-performance-costs-nissan-quest-consumer-050100379.html

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      That looks worse than the Mazda5’s small frontal crash from not long ago.

      IIHS link: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/nissan/quest

      Michael Karesh’s review mentions how the US Quest is modified compared to the JDM Elgrand, perhaps that made the crash test results even worse?

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/review-2011-nissan-quest/#comment-1725192

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I was very happy to learn that the Sienna and Odyssey fared better since we have both in my extended family.

      Who could have known that the Chrysler T&C, Dodge Caravan, VW Routan and Nissan Quest would only rate a “POOR”? Shocking news for the people who own them.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The poor crash test results certainly won’t help sales!

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I was coming out of an Altima lease and could have gotten a good deal on one. Here’s why Honda got my money (and nearly Chrysler) over the Quest.

    Good about Quest IMHO:
    Interior, even in lower trim van, is well made and comfortable. If they slapped an Infiniti badge on it, you wouldn’t cry foul, especially in the top trim van.

    Distinctive styling

    Bad about Quest:

    3 years of CVT with the Altima made me unwilling to do it again, even with V6 power.

    The wife didn’t care for the distinctive styling. It’s really tall too, and our garage is kind of short. It might not have fit. The styling also made for an odd view outside.

    The odd working of the rear seats and inability to have a low load floor was a turn-off.

    Nissan cannot seem to get the Quest right. The original Quest/Villager was a small player in the minivan world, but it played. The vans after the 2004 (2006?) redo were too funky and, plagued with quality issues and poorly assembled.

    Perhaps Nissan should just let the Quest go, at least in the US.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It is too avant-garde, and too Japanese looking. I think it largely has not been on anybody’s van shopping radar since after the 2002 tie-up with the Quest went away. IMO, that was the best looking one, and a clean 02 model still looks pretty new today.

    But if you want a real, truly JDM VIP type van in the US, this is your only option. Problem is no parents care about that crap. It’s a JDM option for Japanese people competing in the US with American options built largely for American tastes.

    And the new crash test results are GHASTLY and I’d never buy something so unsafe. I can’t believe Nissan actually put something so dangerous on sale in a first world market.

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      I bought a 2013 Quest (CPO) earlier this year and wrote about it for this site:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-review-2014-nissan-quest-le/

      If those crash tests had been published before we bought the vehicle, I would have ruled it out.

      Otherwise, we love the van, mainly because it is unique compared to the bland offerings otherwise, does look sharp in the format we purchased it in, gets good real world mileage with the CVT and has a vastly more comfortable and higher-quality interior than the competition. I have two kids and a big dog only so the extra space an Odyssey/Caravan/Sienna gives wasn’t a big deal to us. I am disappointed in the crash results and I figure it will be the kiss of death for the Quest in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        I read that article and as a result, I am a hair’s breath away from buying one of these either tonight or tomorrow night.
        I was even considering printing the article to take in to haggle on a ’14 demo with 10k miles that the dealer refuses to take anything than full asking price.
        Now I don’t think that I can in good conscience put my wife and family in this van and not worry constantly for the next good many years.
        The only thing that gives me pause is that She’s currently driving a Mazda CX9 which also performs horribly in the small overlap.
        I really don’t want an Odyssey given the premium one has to pay for a non-premium product and I don’t see any comparable Siennas in terms of price and features.
        Genuinely not sure what to do; keeping the Mazda (despite it needing a few repairs) is the most cost-effective but is not (relatively speaking) safe. Buying the van that I have to stretch to afford a little bit is also not safe. Buying a worn-out Sienna at a price I can’t afford isn’t something I can do.
        Dammit, maybe just buy an XC90 and hope it doesn’t break (much).
        This sucks.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Was going to say something useful, MFing comment system is not cooperating.

        Was all lined up to get a Quest, looking at XC70s now. Will trade size for safety.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          There are always the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. They did well.

          Maybe “safety” is why they also cost more. Some of my grand kids are being chauffeured around in a minivan. I feel better because those minivans are the Sienna and the Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      ItsMeMartin

      “I’d never buy something so unsafe”

      I’d wager a guess that the Infiniti is not your first car, so chances are that you actually DID buy something less safe, only you might possibly rationalize it by saying that times were different back then. Analogically, let’s imagine the year 2019. An all-new Geely EcoTiger debuts and is blasted by everyone for having an abysmally low crash resistance, roughly on par with a, let’s say, 2006 Infiniti M45. You might exclaim: “I’d never buy something so unsafe!”. And yet here you are driving that M-series, aren’t you?
      Just so there’s no misunderstanding, I do not intend to offend you, it’s just a pet peeve of mine when people use that safety excuse even though they have previously done the exact thing that they do not imagine themselves doing later. And, of course, I might be mistaken; in that case I apologize in advance.

      By the way, has the small overlap test been used for long? I’m not sure but as far as I remember the NHTSA frontal test was a 100% overlap? If it’s the case then it proves one point many crash test fetishists refuse to understand: most cars are designed to be resistant to damage only in situations that are subject to being assessed by EuroNCAP/NHTSA etc and in non-standard events all those stars and ratings go out the window and you see whose dedication to safety is real and whose is only skin-deep; and that even though most of you might not like it, the most reliable indicator of crash resistance is still sheer mass of the vehicle. And even though your average German midsizer might excel at crash tests, it is still no match for your local brotrucker’s Heavy Duty Silverado.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        There’s a difference though. If I go buy a 94 Corolla, it’s a used car and yes times WERE different back then. This car is available NEW, now. I wouldn’t buy something unsafe NEW, which is on offer at a dealer and has not had a prior owner. A car that was safe when new in 94 is not considered safe now – but it had a good result in 94. This Quest does not have a good result in 2014.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    One look at it tells you why. This thing is UGLY.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Let’s try this again.

    “Nissan’s been a long-time player seems to make little difference, perhaps because of the avant-garde styling of the last two iterations”

    No, it’s not the styling, it’s that it’s poorly packaged on the inside and the last Quest anchored the bottom of CR’s reliability rankings. And reliability is _important_ to minivan buyers.

    Chrysler gets a pass because the Caravan is very cheap, has superlative packaging and available everywhere. If it cost what the Quest cost and didn’t have the interior layout, it would tank, too.

    The Quest is tanking not because styling, but because it’s expensive and not very good.

    • 0 avatar
      Frayed Knot

      I have agree with you. When my wife and I were shopping for a minivan last year, the Quest was at the top of the list (mainly for its looks, if you can believe it). However, we we started crawling around the inside, we were both very disappointed – it didn’t feel any roomier than our MDX, and the MDX at least had AWD. The trunk, with the 3rd row up, was especially underwhelming.

      We ended up with an Odyssey – which has been a great kid hauler, especially on long distance drives. The infotainment system, however, does leave something to be desired.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    ….and spamblocked.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    As a minivan owner and sometimes shopper I can say it is capital-F Fugly. There are no unique/nifty/useful interior touches that set this van apart from the field. It is not priced well enough to alleviate concerns about the CVT durability or the outward appearance. Therefore lot poison.

    I actually read everything I could about this van just before it came out as were looking to trade in on a new(er) minivan. There was nothing about the Quest that made it worth the wait, or even worth cons*dering when compared to the new 2011 vans, so we went for a used Odyssey in November 2010.

  • avatar
    Bee

    People liked the people liked the first and second generation versions, that were joint-produced with Ford since they were designed almost ground up for the American market. I recall the third generation was pretty massive and based on a stretched Altima platform. This one is almost pure Japanese however, almost like a modern-day Previa.

  • avatar
    Bee

    People liked the people liked the first and second generation versions, that were joint-produced with Ford since they were designed almost ground up for the American market. I recall the third generation was pretty massive and based on a stretched Altima platform. This one is almost pure Japanese however, like a modern-day Previa.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Nissan has never had much luck in the minivan market. The current Quest is a wacky JDM SpaceBarn, the previous one was wacky and junky to boot (being built in Canton during its horrible QC era), the ’90s Quest was okay but mostly sold at Mercury dealers, the Axxess is a future obscure junkyard find, the ’80s FC vans were mostly bought back and crushed, and the Prairie/Stanza wagon couldn’t decide what it was.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I WOULD BUY an Axxess if I found one. But I haven’t. :(

      Look how nice the Quest ended up by the termination of the Villager!

      http://cdn.tradebit.org/usr/mantra/pub/9002/32223127_2004-nissan-quest-repair-manual.jpg

      That looks great!

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        The Axxess sold better in Canada, so they’re not quite obscure up there. Could bring one down in a few more years, but you might as well import a JDM Prairie Joy if you’re gonna go that route.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I actually didn’t think there were big obstacles from CAN > US like there were from WORLD > US. It’s just kilometers on the dash!

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Likely true, but the big hurdle there is getting documentation from the manufacturer stating that the CDM vehicle was built in compliance with FMVSS and EPA regulations of the day.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    No surpises here. Look at that thing. It’s worse in person.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Yep… my sister in law has a white one. We call it the “Maxi Van” for multiple obvious reasons.

      I will say that the interior is very nice – appears to be lifted straight out of an Infiniti – but I can’t figure out how to change sources or switch tracks via the entertainment system. With two screaming nieces in the back being able to load the correct playlist quickly is kind of important.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    The only cool thing about the 2004 Nissan Quest was the locomotive-style dash and shifter tower up front. I was going to buy one to repaint into the 1982 Milwaukee Road SDL39 colors but the van had too many curves to make sense of the straight line paint scheme I was going to implement. Instead we ordered a black 2005 Magnum SXT and painted it with the specific Milwaukee Road freight engine Orange and along with the decals it looked just like the train!
    In September of 2010 my wife was hit in the Magnum by an unlicensed Salvadoran lowlife driving 60 MPH through a red light. Geico would not repair the car because the wiring harness had been severely split as the short sh*t driver hit the front right of the wagon and tore the front clip off. Her POS Sentra, with three unbuckled occupants, disintegrated sixty feet down the road. She tried to run (for the border?)but could not escape from the witnesses. As usual, no license and no insurance but perfectly okay to drive in California if you are an illegal immigrant. Somehow the “hospital” she worked for agreed to cover the repairs but the Magnum was totaled by our insurance company.
    We now have a 2006 Buick Rainier CXL as our Milwaukee Road “engine”.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yep, wiring harness damage will often total a vehicle, simply because splicing and patching is unreliable, and replacing the entire loom means disassembling almost down to the bare unibody.

  • avatar
    make_light

    I feel bad for the Quest. It’s certainly not a beautiful car, but I vastly prefer to just about anything else in the category (except maybe the new Sedona). And it’s truly a refined, premium feeling vehicle… I know the Sienna was recently updated, but before that, it’s interior materials were horrid. The fact that anyone would shell out close to 40k for that appalled me. I don’t think the latest Quest was every given a fair shot by the press, it has always been overlooked. I’m sure that has impacted its poor sales performance.

    Too bad about those new crash test scores, which will likely be a nail in the coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …Too bad about those new crash test scores, which will likely be a nail in the coffin…

      Give it up for make_light ladies and gentlemen! He’ll be here all week, and don’t forget to tip your waitstaff.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Don’t feel bad for the Quest. It is Nissan’s entry into the minivan market at a price point below that of Dodge. As such, Nissan wasn’t going to put a lot of R&D in the crash test phase.

      For the unlucky few who are/will be involved in such a frontal crash, they now know what to expect.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Lengthen the hood, lower the roof, jack up road clearance, give it AWD and call it a SUV, and they’ll sell like hotcakes.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    About a month ago I saw my first Nissan Quest minivan in the wild that did not have a rental company bar code sticker on it.

    I also noticed that it had steel rims with hub cabs. How quaint…

  • avatar
    Joss

    Nothing new here… Quest has always labored in the shadow of Honda & Toyota. Quality & reliability issues since Villager days have caught up. Buyers who demand it go H & T, while others saved @ Chrysler.

    Good point maybe an Infiniti badge would sell more. Not too many Vanden Plas minivans…

  • avatar
    KindaFondaHonda

    Bought a new Quest GLE back in 1996. We wanted a minivan for trips to Florida prepping to move down in 1999.

    Full tilt model. Big moonroof (a rarity), two-tone blue-amethyst and charcoal paint, captains chairs, built-in VCR (!), plus lots more.

    Loved that thing. Drove like a big Maxima. It was a joint venture with Ford, but it was mostly Nissan… engine, trans, styling, steering wheel/control pods + interior design, etc. Ford bits were obvious: column shifter, turn signal stalk, window control buttons, AC controls, a little here a little there. But it drove and felt like all our previous Nissans.

    Super reliable, drove very nice, roomy enough without being “grand” sized, and comfy on long drives. Zero complaints. When it was traded in in 2000 an employee of the dealership bought it before it made the lot.

    An interesting tidbit is that while the Quest and Villager were built on the same line, at the end, the Quest was driven to a dedicated building for a very thorough inspection to ensure it met Nissan standards instead of just driving out the factory right off like Mercurys.

    Ours was beautifully built.

    Nissan really screwed up the 2004 follow-up with that garbage can console in the dash. Ugh.

    The current version is just fine, but it fails to match the Sienna and Odyssey in space utilization and practicality. Too bad. Yeah the crash test looks a bit gruesome, but I don’t think it was designed to pass that test like the Odyssey and Sienna were. It is certainly not some death trap, but for equal money, the Toyota or Honda are definitely “safer”.

    RIP next-gen Quest… Good memories of the 1996.

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