Nissan’s current line of cars is competent, but also somewhat bland. One exception to that norm is the Juke, a tiny crossover with funky styling that Nissan introduced in 2010.
The Juke has soldiered on since then with only minor updates, and now it appears Nissan may get rid of it altogether. The Japanese automaker isn’t planning a second-generation Juke for North America, reports The Truth About Cars. Citing two anonymous sources familiar with Nissan’s product plans, the website said the Juke will be discontinued after the 2017 or 2018 model year, and replaced in some markets by another SUV called the Kicks. Nissan itself said it would not comment on future products.
Nissan hit on something special with the Juke, but the subcompact crossover seems to have lost momentum since its launch. While the styling admittedly isn’t for everyone, the Juke introduced some badly needed fun to Nissan’s crossover lineup. Nissan even stuffed the powertrain from its GT-R into the Juke as a stunt, and offers a decently sporty Juke NISMO model as well. The Juke also helped start a boom in smaller crossovers, one that continues to this day.
But while the Juke was styled to look a combination of an SUV and a small coupe, most of its competitors have taken on a more traditional SUV look. Rivals like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 consequently offer greater practicality than the Juke. Toyota copied Nissan with the radically styled C-HR, but it’s too early to see if that model will be a hit or a flop.
In addition, the Juke is now a fairly old design by industry standards, and much older than most of the competition. That may explain why U.S. sales slipped from a high of 38,184 units in 2014, to 19,577 in 2016. Considering Americans’ current infatuation with SUVs, it’s a major decline.
Since that SUV boom shows no signs of fading, it’s possible that Nissan could recapture some sales if it redesigned the Juke. But the automaker may not feel that it would be worth the effort. For the past seven years, the Juke has refused to follow the automotive herd. But being different doesn’t matter if doesn’t translate into sales.