Just two years after Nissan introduced the Rogue Sport to lure new and younger customers, the company is considering phasing out the vehicle.
The compact crossover — a variant of the popular Rogue, but on a different global platform with a different engine — is getting lost between the Rogue and the entry-level Kicks subcompact, according to dealers.
Nissan declined to comment on the Rogue Sport's future but said the model "remains an important part" of its crossover lineup.
The deliberations take place as Nissan looks to trim its offerings by at least 10 percent by March 31, 2022. Starting next year, the automaker will stop sales of the diesel-powered Titan XD pickup and jettison certain other Titan configurations.
Nissan added the Rogue Sport to coax younger buyers out of sedans and from other brands. About 60 percent of Rogue Sport customers are new to the brand, a Nissan spokesman said. Nissan does not break out Rogue Sport sales from overall Rogue sales, which topped 242,800 units through August.
Nissan has marketed the Rogue Sport as an alternative to the bigger Rogue, but shoppers might fail to grasp the distinction.
Nissan "should have named it something different than the Rogue Sport," said Tyler Slade, co-owner of Tim Dahle Nissan Southtowne in suburban Salt Lake City.
"Rogue Sport sounds like just a trim level," said Slade, who was unaware of any talks to phase out the vehicle.
To help differentiate it, Nissan updated the 2020 Rogue Sport's interior and added standard safety technology and semi-autonomous driving technology. But competition within the family is tough. The Kicks offers slightly better fuel economy and more interior space than the Rogue Sport for $3,500 less.
Meanwhile, incentives on the Rogue have chipped away at the Rogue Sport's roughly $3,000 price advantage. And Rogue lease programs are often offered for less than the Rogue Sport.