2010 Nissan Xterra on the trail
2010 Nissan Xterra – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan's Xterra, a throwback to when all SUVs were red in tooth and claw, may be swinging on the gallows sooner rather than later. According to Ward's Auto, the gloriously upright off-roader faces an uncertain future amidst slumping sales and ever-tightening federal fuel economy regulations.

Ward's
data indicates that the Xterra has sold just 12,186 units through July, and even that modest figure is well ahead of last year's glacial pace brought about by the stagnant economy. By comparison, Nissan shipped 88,578 new Xterras off to owners in 2000.

The Xterra hasn't received more than modest changes since its redesign back in 2005, and although Nissan's vice president of advanced product and product planning and stategy, Larry Dominique, says the automaker will try to build the SUV '"as long as we possibly can," there isn't a redesign in sight.

Despite the Xterra's likely demise, Ward's says that the Xterra's mid-size kin, the Frontier pickup and Pathfinder, don't appear to be going anywhere, though Dominique seemingly hints that the latter could continue on in a new form, saying "Pathfinder will live on... how it will live on, wait to see. There's no reason to get rid of a three-row crossover or SUV." Could Nissan be pondering a shift to a car-based Pathfinder, like the 2011 Ford Explorer and the forthcoming Dodge Durango? We should know within the year.


Related Gallery2011 Nissan Xterra

[Source: Ward's Auto]