Meanwhile, Bunce tells WardsAuto Nissan is “very, very closely” looking at a return to the off-road utility segment, given the resurgence in popularity of the vehicle type. An all-new Jeep Wrangler is due in 2018, a new Ford Bronco comes in 2020 and various automakers recently have shown rugged concepts, including Toyota with its FT-AC CUV at November’s Los Angeles auto show.

“We know (via research) the Millennial male, through devices they’re becoming more isolated,” he says. “And they want to reconnect with friends, family, outdoors. And a vehicle is an expression, a way to do that. We’re doing a lot of work in the space to understand that customer very well.”

Citing an unnamed source, Motor Trend in October reported a body-on-frame SUV from the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, possibly a third-generation Xterra, is bound for April’s Beijing auto show.

While Nissan discontinued its off-road-oriented Xterra SUV in ’15, Bunce tells WardsAuto it “is a great asset in terms of a name and a badge. It’s on the shelf right now, but it’s something we could utilize in the future.”

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com