The 2007 Nissan Quest
-- Minivans have long been mom-friendly mobiles. They've been purchased
by moms, driven by moms, and now, are being designed by moms.
"Since inception, minivans have had a stigma as being mom mobiles. On the Quest team we don't fight it. We add to it, embrace it, indulge it, paying as much, or more, attention to the person behind the wheel as the passengers in the back seats," said Assistant Chief Engineer of the Nissan Quest, Carla Bailo.
When Nissan introduced a redesigned Quest at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show in February, Nissan brand manager Brad Bradshaw was quick to highlight the past generation's design and quality flaws and Quest's resulting slow sales. Despite a target goal of 80,000 units, Nissan sold only 40,357 minvans in 2005. Its poor sales record has been attributed to the van's discomforting interior and austere exterior. Nissan's campaign to make it the anti-minivan wasn't paying off. In response, Nissan redesigned the 2007 Quest minivan and addressed all those hurdles, creating the vehicle for its intended family audience, with a mom of four at the engineering helm.
"On the Quest development team, we talk about moms, especially moms who picture themselves as more than a mom--moms that didn't give up their individuality or sense of adventure or style when they became moms. I guess I qualify as part of that group," Bailo said.
Bailo, along with other women like Nissan's Chief Product Specialist Tracey Matlock, led the team. "We designed this van for moms who are more than moms. Moms who are modern, individual, active, and enjoy driving," Bailo said.
The redesigned interior is more user-friendly for busy families, including a larger glovebox, an available fixed center console with more storage compartments, softer fabrics, and easier-to-locate HVAC controls and in-dash information display screen. Bailo also noted that the exterior was redesigned to give Quest a sportier look with a new grille, headlights, and chrome trim.
In the convenience department, the redesigned Quest offers a fold-flat third-row seat with new automatic fold-down headrests and spring-assisted seatback for easier, one-handed operation.
Of the mom-on-the-go lifestyle and the minivan made to fit it, Bailo said "we say that 'life happens in a Quest,' and that is certainly true."
Wanted: Women Behind the Wheel
By Jennifer Geiger Consumer Guide Automotive