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Nissan's new 2022 Pathfinder will be key to finding new customers as X-Trail and Navara account for bulk of sales

With revised styling, the new-generation Pathfinder is a huge departure from the current model in looks.

Nissan will be hoping the new Pathfinder revealed this week can make a big impact when it arrives in Australia. That would help alleviate the brand’s reliance on two models that account for precisely two-third of all local sales – the X-Trail and Navara.

The Japanese brand has long relied on its SUVs to anchor its sales, even before it dropped its entire passenger car range, but the X-Trail has emerged as the clear number one for the brand. It accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the brand’s total sales (37 per cent to be precise), while the Navara handles 29.9 per cent, which makes the brand heavily reliant on the all-new X-Trail and updated Navara to perform.

As we wrote last week about the Ford Ranger, Nissan will need to plan carefully for the run-out of the outgoing X-Trail and introduction of the new model, or potentially suffer a significant sales hit.

The new X-Trail (aka Rogue in the US market) isn’t due to launch until very late this year or early in 2022, so there’s plenty of time to prepare. However, the arrival of the new Pathfinder, likely shortly after the X-Trail gives the brand a chance to revive its large SUV sales.

The current model was outsold in the large SUV segment by both the Holden Acadia and Trailblazer, Skoda Kodiaq, Jeep Wrangler, and Ford Endura in 2020. Nissan sold just 1118 Pathfinders last year, accounting for a tiny 1.2 per cent share of the market.

It wasn’t always that way, when the current model launched in 2013 it was a major departure from the model it replaced, ditching its Navara underpinnings for a ‘soft-roader’ approach.

It seemed to work with the Pathfinder notching a respectable 5343 sales for a 5.0 per cent segment share in 2014 (its first full-year on sale).

As it’s aged, it has become less popular compared to its newer rivals, and the once healthy Pathfinder badge has diminished. The new Pathfinder revealed in the US this week has far more on-road presence than the current version and continues the brand’s more premium push (at least in terms of cabin presentation).

It’s a trend we’ve already seen on the new X-Trail, which has a strong family resemblance to the new Pathfinder and a more polished interior.

Nissan Australia will obviously be hoping the Pathfinder has a wider appeal when the new model arrives, not only because it will help reduce its dependence on the X-Trail’s success, but would also offer significant growth potential to the brand’s overall sales.