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(08:30 March 26, 2004)
Quest sales disappoint: Nissan execs blame the mix of options, grades
By KATHY JACKSON AND MARK RECHTIN
Automotive News

LOS ANGELES -- Nissan's radically styled 2004 Quest minivan has turned into a huge sales disappointment.

The Quest was counted on to make a breakthrough for Nissan in a key segment. But sales are short of expectations, even after several launch glitches were fixed and incentives were added.

When Nissan introduced the all-new model in July, executives predicted sales of 80,000 to 85,000 in 2004. But volume has ranged between 3,000 and 4,000 a month.

Sales totaled only 8,052 units for the first two months of this year, and the company had a 100-day supply of vehicles on March 1.

Nissan executives in Japan are unhappy. Patrick Pelata, executive vice president for planning and design at Nissan Motor Co., said the company fumbled the marketing.

"We made a poor planning of options and grades," he said. "It's made a huge mess with suppliers and the plant and the whole distribution network. We are selling 50 percent below plan for our entry-level model. We are on target for the midgrade, but we are building well below the number of top-grade models that people want."

Pelata said Nissan also did not order enough of some popular options from suppliers.

"Reversing that takes time," he said. "When this happens, you can lose dozens of millions of dollars."

Nissan made three blunders, said Simon Sproule, vice president of corporate communications at Nissan North America Inc. He said the company miscalculated demand for the top-of-the-line SE model, the skyview sunroof and the rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Sproule said the problems have been fixed.

Full Story Here

 

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What do they expect? The van is ugly. The way the back end is shaped, it looks like it is dragging its but down the road.

Also, I don't think most consumers like the center mounted instrument panel.

Yes, it has a great engine, but how many soccer moms care about how high tech their engine is?

This van is designed for Star Trek fans from the 70's who are looking for their own personal starship... even if it looks a little wacky.
 

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There was an article on this site a couple weeks ago about how styling, not reliability or options, is driving many new car sales.

I think Nissan needs to read that to find out why no one is buying the minivan. That thing is hideous. Who cares if it's got DVD and a rear sky roof the exterior is still busted.

If I was married to a soccer mom and I had to pick up kids in that thing....I think I'd rather spontaneously combust than be seen in that thing. :ninja:
 

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most people don't understand this yet, but today ugly is in.


Regardless of how ugly a car looks, if its from japan and looks hideous it will be a hot seller. Look at most cars that are ugly, they are selling very well. Except for this of course, but I have seen plenty of these vans in NJ.

Today, regardless of how ugly something is, if its different, people want it because people these days want to be different regardless of how bad a product is. As long as its different, it will sell.
 

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Well, Nissan's vans are almost as bad as our vans...

I think we will soon be reading about a similar disaster here in Doraville (the assembly plant for GM Minivans).

I'm not sure if the Quest or Chevy Minivan is uglier...neither...its the saturn relay...now that's hideous.
 

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Originally posted by GM-10@Mar 26 2004, 06:29 PM
Well, Nissan's vans are almost as bad as our vans...

I think we will soon be reading about a similar disaster here in Doraville (the assembly plant for GM Minivans).

I'm not sure if the Quest or Chevy Minivan is uglier...neither...its the saturn relay...now that's hideous.
hmmm... i don't find the CSV's ugly. they're not ground breaking or unquestionably gorgeous, but i think if anything they're just a little boring. they still might not do well... they don't seem competitive on any level (maybe they will be in price), but i don't think they'll be as poorly received as the ugly-duckling quest.
 

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Originally posted by LegendNH@Mar 26 2004, 11:22 AM
Today, regardless of how ugly something is, if its different, people want it because people these days want to be different regardless of how bad a product is. As long as its different, it will sell.
But apparently the Quest is an exception to the rule? No matter how hard they try, they can't convince me that it's just b/c of the options combos.
 

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Originally posted by paul8488@Mar 26 2004, 01:39 PM
Well, Nissan's vans are almost as bad as our vans...

hmmm... i don't find the CSV's ugly. they're not ground breaking or unquestionably gorgeous, but i think if anything they're just a little boring. they still might not do well... they don't seem competitive on any level (maybe they will be in price), but i don't think they'll be as poorly received as the ugly-duckling quest.
I don't think this is a good time for minivans period. With SUVs rapidly stealing market share there is simply a smaller portion of the pie left to share. In addition to this more manufacturers than ever are building them. Which yet again begs the question: is there really room for 4 versions of the same GM van?!? I doubt it. The GM vans, from what I have seen and heard, are very poor but if they can offer a lot of content (i.e. DVD players seem to be the thing now) for value prices then they may nevertheless find enough hapless buyers to turn a profit. Of course, sales figures will be divided into 4.

I really don't think the Buick will fair all that well in this market because people don't buy vans to ride in high style, they buy them for their versatility (read: seats that fold flat into the floor to accommodate caro), reliability (listening GM?), and their ability to carry 7 people at a "reasonable" price. Leather should be, at most, a Montana option. This does not require an entire model unto itself. The vast majority of buyers are most likely to vie for the "Uplander" (what a bad name) with a DVD player. And this is only if GM can price them below the better Caravan. The only way a Buick will sell is if they lower their price and steal buyers away from Chevy but, again, this will only tarnish their reputation.

As for the Quest, to be honest, I kinda liked it for its daring style. But even after they resolve their problems they will still have the same problem I mentioned above...Price. People buy more Caravans than anyone else for this reason alone. No matter how good your van is people are not going to pay $30,000 + (estimate) for them, at least not many.
 

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well i think GM vans may join this ugly little nugget in the near future. they are almost as hidious, though i think this takes the crown away from the azteck, along with the interior.

the GM vans may suprise us though, they are at least different from the crowd, something you would expect from dodge, it may actully work, i mean yes suv's have been kicking the asses off of minivans the last few yeras, maybe the anser is to make hte minivans more SUV-ish, i think when a refresh comes alone, and GM shakes off a bit of the ugly off thier vans, they could sell quite well, and maybe give them some more unique sheet metel, so they dont share EVERYTHING!
 

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Yeah GM...shame on you.....why cant you be more like Chrysler. Look at how different the Dodge Caravan is from the Chrysler Voyager and how different the Voyager is from the Town and Country, wow, it's almost like looking at a Plymouth Neon and a Dodge Neon they are soooo different.

The Ford Freekstar and Mercury Monterey are also two very different and distinct vehicles....almost as different as the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis.


Shame on GM for not spending billions of their hard earned dollars on a vehicle segment with a declining share of the market.



Personally....The CSV's are tons better looking than the Quest, and the interior coments are unfounded, the interiors are some of the best looking in recent GM history and they bode well for future GM cars.

The Buick Terraza fills the gap where the Oldsmobile Shillouete used to be, it does battle against the Town & Country and Monterey. Leaving the Chevrolet Uplander for the lower end of the market to do battle against the Voyager and Freestar. The Pontiac SV6 is a middle ground, intended to grab some people who want something a little more different than the Uplander, but dont want to swing all the way up to the Buick.

The Saturn Relay, though a little disapointing, as I would have like to have seen Saturn do it's own unique mini-van, does help in keeping Saturn loyalist who have out grown a sedan or a coupe. Since it will be sold at Saturn dealerships with the same low pressure sales and excellent service, it should help add some numbers to Saturns sales figures.
 

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Originally posted by boblutzfan@Mar 26 2004, 05:01 PM
What do they expect? The van is ugly. The way the back end is shaped, it looks like it is dragging its but down the road.

Also, I don't think most consumers like the center mounted instrument panel.

Yes, it has a great engine, but how many soccer moms care about how high tech their engine is?

This van is designed for Star Trek fans from the 70's who are looking for their own personal starship... even if it looks a little wacky.
:lol:
GREAT ENGINE?!?
it's French - made,how it can be great???????

in topgear they said it was a total crap
 

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Nissan is going to have a tough time to turnaround this sales disappointment, but it's good to see that they admitted they had a problem and are currently fixing it. The minivan segment is basically dominated by the Sienna, Odyssey, and Grand Caravan, and I don't see why not. Those three do seem to be the "best buys" in the segment.
 

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Our neighbor bought a Quest 3 months ago. He is very disappointed with it. Lots of rattles and a winshield wiper system that doesn't work right and can't be fixed.

The dash on the the Quest is just dumb. At least the new GM vans have a nice dash.
 

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The really nice interiors will get blasted for not having the fold into the floor rear seat like EVERY OTHER brand. And now it has been trumped by Chrysler's fold into the floor middle seats. With 0 points for the exterior, and 1/2 a point for the interior, and now 4 seperate versions of the same vehicle, these cars are destined to be failures.
 

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Originally posted by Rex Raider@Mar 26 2004, 11:17 PM
The really nice interiors will get blasted for not having the fold into the floor rear seat like EVERY OTHER brand. And now it has been trumped by Chrysler's fold into the floor middle seats. With 0 points for the exterior, and 1/2 a point for the interior, and now 4 seperate versions of the same vehicle, these cars are destined to be failures.
Sadly, you're probably right.... :eek:
 

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Originally posted by RCtennis3811+Mar 27 2004, 11:13 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (RCtennis3811 @ Mar 27 2004, 11:13 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Rex Raider@Mar 26 2004, 11:17 PM
The really nice interiors will get blasted for not having the fold into the floor rear seat like EVERY OTHER brand.  And now it has been trumped by Chrysler's fold into the floor middle seats.  With 0 points for the exterior, and 1/2 a point for the interior, and now 4 seperate versions of the same vehicle, these cars are destined to be failures.
Sadly, you're probably right.... :eek: [/b][/quote]
nah- I don't think so. These vans aren't gonig to take top spot, but they're not supposed to. They'll maintain decent sales because of the selection. Yeah, yeah, I know they all look the same, but they still appeal to different tastes, and will be pushed on different lots. I think these will be good solid vans-- no true fold-flat seats? Big deal- I think most buyers are happy enough with a flat loading floor, which these vans offer. And as for the exteriors, I think they'll do well with the average buyer. We board moles are of a different breed-- we look at cars all day long and notice subtle differences. The average buyer will note that they look more like SUVs and will respect that, I think. I've showed some pictures-- many people say "hm- is it some new SUV?" Lets give them a chance to die before we kill them. ;)
 

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Originally posted by Mr_Pringle+Mar 27 2004, 05:44 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Mr_Pringle @ Mar 27 2004, 05:44 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by [email protected] 27 2004, 11:13 AM
<!--QuoteBegin-Rex Raider
@Mar 26 2004, 11:17 PM
The really nice interiors will get blasted for not having the fold into the floor rear seat like EVERY OTHER brand.  And now it has been trumped by Chrysler's fold into the floor middle seats.  With 0 points for the exterior, and 1/2 a point for the interior, and now 4 seperate versions of the same vehicle, these cars are destined to be failures.

Sadly, you're probably right.... :eek:
nah- I don't think so. These vans aren't gonig to take top spot, but they're not supposed to. They'll maintain decent sales because of the selection. Yeah, yeah, I know they all look the same, but they still appeal to different tastes, and will be pushed on different lots. I think these will be good solid vans-- no true fold-flat seats? Big deal- I think most buyers are happy enough with a flat loading floor, which these vans offer. And as for the exteriors, I think they'll do well with the average buyer. We board moles are of a different breed-- we look at cars all day long and notice subtle differences. The average buyer will note that they look more like SUVs and will respect that, I think. I've showed some pictures-- many people say "hm- is it some new SUV?" Lets give them a chance to die before we kill them. ;) [/b][/quote]
Ahh, good point!
 

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I'm not surprised that I've seen relatively few Quests around here. Price is a important selling point, so I see a lot of Kia Sedonas around here.

As for the design, I actually kind of like the Quest. Of course, you have to remember that it is essentially, as David E. Davis Jr. described in the latest issue of Automoblie, a French car. That, incidentally, is something we're no longer accustomed to, and it is an acquired taste, like, say, Brie.
 

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I'm actually surprised that the Quest is not doing better; it seems like a fairly well thought-out minivan, sans the styling, which certainly seems to be polarizing. I wonder if lower sales are also a result of the pricing; the stickers I've seen have been a tad high.

Though I'd like to cheer for the relative failure of this minivan, that would be a bit premature. Nissan will not lose money here, as the Canton, MI plant that builds the Quest is amazingly flexible. They will just ratchet down Quest production and ratchet up Titan, Armada or QX54 production; in this way, the plant runs at full capacity, and the Quest can still sell profitably and have a better chance of recovering the developmental costs.

Contrast that to the GM quadruplets to be built at Doraville. They need to crank out 250,000 units for the plant to operate at 100% efficiency. Of course, they don't need to operate at 100% efficiency to be profitable, but I'm skeptical that this plant will be producing anywhere near that number in the fall. To my knowledge, and in accordance with what I can glean from its 2003 production schedule on GM Media Online, the minvans are the only vehicles produced there. These vans will not reach 250,000 units per annum, as the US swallowed up less than 150,000 of the Venture, Silhouette, and Montana last year, and they don't find that many more homes outside of the US. They are good vans, to be sure. But sales will not be dramatically different from their predecessors.

The minvan market has certainly declined several hundred thousand units from the mid 90's, but it has leveled off and is predicted to expand a bit, despite what people have indicated. Irrespective if the market remains flat, minivans still represent 1 million sales per year, and it seems that any major (i.e, 1,000,000+ sales per year) automaker in the US needs to market a successful vehicle in this segment if they want to be successful overall.
 
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