When an automaker makes much-needed changes to the design and amenities of an already great vehicle, consumers respond in a big way. The Nissan Frontier is a great example. The once-popular midsized pickup had begun to lose its luster, with dated designs and dinosaur-aged technology. Nissan spent some quality time in the drawing room and brought about tons of well-received updates for 2022.
Consumers responded, and the sales numbers for Nissan Frontiers sold throughout 1Q, and 2Q 2022 prove its popularity. But something happened over the summer that nearly cut those sales figures in half. Is it possible that the redesigned Nissan Frontier is losing momentum already? Or is there something else contributing to the significant drop in sales?
Nissan Frontier’s updates met solid reviews
At the start of 2022, it seems the Nissan Frontier was unstoppable. It was an all-new generation for the pickup, with upgrades consumers and critics both applauded. MotorTrend called the exterior design refresh a “modernized” look. And the “hard reboot” also came with improved tech, hydraulic cab mounts, additional sound insulation, and acoustic laminated glass. It was the out-with-old-in-with-the-new theme all around, bringing all the best features today’s consumers crave.
In April, TFL Truck shared that the Nissan Frontier had earned the coveted number two spot as the best-selling midsize pickup in the U.S. This beefy little truck outperformed the likes of the Ford Ranger, the Chevy Colorado, and the GMC Canyon.
Reviews were great, supporting all the latest updates and robust capabilities of this truck. Consumers took notice and began scooping them up, averaging almost 7,000 trucks sold every month. That is, until about July, when sales took a nosedive.
Sales dipped mid-year for the redesigned Nissan Frontier
Sales numbers, according to Good Car Bad Car analysis, showed more than 7,000 units sold in January, February, and April. March saw the highest sales clocking 8,066 Nissan Frontiers sold. But those figures wouldn’t sustain all year.
By July, Nissan Frontier sales dropped below 5,000 units, and it looks like they never recovered from there. Nissan sold 4,340 Frontiers in July, 4,507 in August, and 4,340 in September. And while those figures were up month-to-month results in 2021, it’s clear something must have happened to curb Frontier sales over the summer.
But what? Year-to-year comparisons show the outdated version of the Nissan Frontier sold 60,697 units in 2021 and is only at 56,355 for 2022.
Speculation behind the drop in sales
Some sources point to competition as the culprit driving the reduced sales. The midsized truck segment certainly has grown crowded. And it wasn’t all that long ago that the only pickups in the running were the Ford Ranger, the Toyota Tacoma, and the Nissan Frontier. But then new Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline models came on stage, stealing consumer attention.
However, Automotive News shared another issue plaguing 3Q and 4Q Nissan Frontier sales. Dealer inventory and supply issues caused delays. The nearly 23% drop in sales in 3Q, as Nissan Division vice president of sales Judy Wheeler described, are now starting to see “incremental improvements.”
Wheeler told Automotive News that vehicle shipments to dealers were estimated to improve by 30%. And the automaker is anticipating a rebound in sales, due to this improved supply, by 1Q 2023.
There’s nothing wrong with the 2022 Nissan Frontier. And it’s certainly worth a look if you haven’t yet seen the latest round of updates and upgrades yet. You’ll love the 310-hp 3.8-liter V6 engine. You’ll appreciate the options to choose extended cab or crew cab body styles.
And if you’re like MotorTrend, you’ll keep your eye on the 4WD Pro-4X and the RWD Pro-X off-road variations. But if you can’t get your hands on one of these pickups because your dealership doesn’t have them, you might have to wait a few months for the supply chain wrinkles to iron out for Nissan.