Friday, August 26, 2011

Minivan Of The Day: August 26, 2011

Today's car of the day is Matchbox's 1990 Nissan Prairie.

The Nissan Prairie, introduced in Japan in 1981 and Europe in 1982, was a car from Japanese manufacturer Nissan. It was also known as the Multi in Canada and the Stanza Wagon in the United States. The second generation was renamed the Nissan Axxess in North America , but due to disappointing sales, was no longer offered and replaced by the larger Nissan/Ford joint venture called the Nissan Quest, and in Europe it was replaced by the Nissan Serena. When the third generation of this vehicle was introduced in Japan, it was renamed initially Prairie Liberty, with the "Prairie" name eventually dropped in November 1998. This vehicle was discontinued and replaced with the Nissan Lafesta December 2004 in Japan.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Nissan Prairie

The second generation Nissan Prairie, an almost bizarre choice to appear in 1/64.  Nowhere near as well-known as the Chrysler minivans (which Matchbox had already replicated six years prior), and nowhere near as distinctive as the new for 1990 GM minivans.  Matchbox usually tried to pick cars with global appeal due to all the markets they competed in, and odds are good that the fact that this one debuted in North America in 1990 as the Axxess helped spur the decision to produce this model.  Of course the Axxess only stuck around the USA for one model year and quickly faded away.  I'm not sure I've ever seen one (though I have seen a first generation model as recently as last year).

The second generation of the Prairie was introduced September 1988, and it was renamed the Nissan Axxess when sold in North America. The vehicle sold for six years (1990–95) in Canada, and in 1990 only in the United States.

The Prairie came with optional AWD but because it came with a 2.0 litre engine, it wasn't designed or equipped for vigorous off road driving. In North America, that market segment was offered an all new vehicle, called the Nissan Pathfinder. Because of the Pathfinders similar cargo carrying capacity added to an increased ground clearance and a larger 4- and V6 engine, the utility that the Prairie(Axxess) offered was seen as a lesser vehicle.

Nissan didn't retreat from the family oriented minivan market, and introduced the Nissan Quest in 1993, sharing production facilities with Ford North America, with Ford selling the Quest as the Mercury Villager. In Europe, the Prairie was replaced with the larger Nissan Serena, also originally sold in Japan in 1991.
Nissan refocused their efforts provided by the Prairie on the Japanese market, and offered additional room by stretching the back end to better accommodate third seat passengers and load carrying, calling the vehicle the Prairie Joy, which was offered August 1995. The Prairie continued to see competition from the Toyota Sprinter Carib, the Mitsubishi Chariot, and the Civic based Honda Shuttle.

Styling of the Prairie was never its strong suit, and the second generation didn't show an improvement, which hampered sales. It was popular with families who needed utility above other considerations.

May 1997, anti-lock brakes and driver and front passenger airbags were offered, along with ultraviolet restricting tinted glass.

1 comment:

  1. A shinning example of my favourite Matchbox era. A extremely well done model of a simple, boring car. Perfect for me.