Over the years, I've been given many nicknames – a few of them have even been repeatable around small children. One such moniker is "Mr. Other Makes," a title given to me because of my predilection for sifting through eBay Motors seeking out automotive misfits and orphans. I've got a soft spot for the dreamers and automakers who take big chances on beancounter-enraging flights of fancy.
I count Nissan among that bunch, because for every safe-as-houses Altima or Sentra that rolls out of its factory gates, the Japanese automaker has often secreted away a little funding for white-space niche vehicles that any sane person wouldn't expect to pencil out. Some, like the Juke, have proven to be massive hits. Others, like the GT-R, have become icons. And then there are models like the Murano CrossCabriolet, a segment-bending mashup the likes of which we haven't seen since the AMC Eagle Sundancer.
Yesterday, upon revealing the new third-generation Murano ahead of its New York Auto Show debut, we reported "the writing appears to be on the wall" for the midsize crossover's novel convertible cousin. It appears we were right. Autoblog can now confirm that the CrossCabriolet will die at the end of this model year, and our source at Nissan tells us unequivocally, "there is no plan for a next-generation Murano CC."
Nissan didn't pinch pennies when developing the model – the CrossCabriolet received all-new sheetmetal from the A-pillar rearward, countless structural reinforcements and all-new seats front and rear. It wasn't cheap. It also wasn't enough – the model's modest sales were compounded by its high starting price ($42,855 delivered) and limited marketing efforts.
While Nissan itself doesn't break out the CrossCabriolet's sales from the rest of the Murano line, IHS Automotive sales data indicates that for 2011, Nissan sold 1,159 examples in North America, and in 2012, sales peaked at 3,278 units before sagging to 1,332 in 2013. If the Murano CC was the answer to a question that few had been asking, IHS senior analyst Stephanie Brinley tells Autoblog, "Everyone who did ask that question picked up one in 2012 or 2013."
The passing of the Murano CrossCabriolet is a loss likely to be mourned by few, but I'll be one of them – if only because cars that make a point of coloring outside the lines are too rare in this business.