Nissan Quest U.S. Sales Reach 45-Month Low In October 2014

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

October 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.

The 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.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

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  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Nov 20, 2014

    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...

  • KindaFondaHonda KindaFondaHonda on Nov 21, 2014

    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.

  • RobbyG This sort of reminds me of a "better" version of the first BMW I3's that came out with a whopping 60ish miles of range in in a super compact body made of plastic outside and straight through into the interior. And BMW wanted $40k+ then.$34k for this is still double the price of where it should realistically be.
  • Lorenzo Are there any naturally aspirated engines available?
  • Jeff There was a time that all the major auto makers advertised there full size V-8 engine cars to be quieter than a Rolls Royce. Ford had ads up thru the early 80s showing the Ford LTD and the Mercury Grand Marquis being quieter than a Rolls Royce with a smoother ride. An ad for a the Grand Marquis showed how quiet and smooth riding it was demonstrating that even a rabbi could do a circumcision on a baby boy in the back of a Grand Marquis as it was being driven. Another Mercury commercial with a diamond cutter splitting an expensive diamond while the car was being driven. Most cars in the 60s, 70s, and much of the 80s were marketed for their quiet interiors and smooth rides. Now we have to add noise to a vehicle to give the illusion of powerful and fast. If I ever were to own an EV I would want it quiet. Saturday Night Live even had a parody on the Mercury rabbi commercial. Bris inside a Royal Deluxe II from Saturday Night Live https://vimeo.com › ... 1:25Bris performed inside a Royal Deluxe II in a Saturday Night Live skit.Vimeo · Adam Kegel · Jan 18, 2019
  • Lorenzo Six percent here, ten percent there, and pretty soon you've got a dead brand.
  • ToolGuy Tungsten trim? I am holding out for the Depleted Uranium trim.
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