Supply and production interruptions due to the March earthquake in Japan (and the resulting tsunami) have left the new 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet in short supply—and from the sound of it, some shoppers might not even see Nissan's quirky new soft top crossover in showrooms until after convertible season starts winding down.
According to Nissan, as cited by Edmunds' Inside Line, the automaker has only delivered in the range of 40 to 50 Murano CrossCabriolet models to U.S. customers at this point; the model was just in its first few days of production at that time in March, and production has been shuttered for most of a month due to supply-chain issues, even though the assembly plant itself didn't sustain any damage.
In addition to the strictly-niche Murano CrossCabriolet, a number of important higher-volume vehicles have been affected by the quake aftermath. Honda saw its Fit and CR-V supply significantly affected, as well as that of the new 2012 Civic, and Toyota Prius and RAV4 production have been dinged—in turn, potentially, contributing to the significantly higher transaction prices seen on a number of smaller models (especially the Prius) in recent weeks.
The CrossCabriolet, which was already destined for a relatively small subset of shoppers because of its eyebrow-raising $47,190 sticker price, is claimed to be the first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible. That of course doesn't count the more rugged, trucklike 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which is still for offered in soft-top form.
With its higher-up seating, combined with carlike ride and handling, as well as luxury-caliber appointments, it's already appealing to the affluent, visor-wearing crowd who would rather cruise than take on a curvy road. The wild card in this, in addition to the price, of course, is styling: the short, stubby profile looks ungainly from some angles, or potentially a little cute-ute from others.
It's too early to tell whether a lot of shoppers will bite. But if you were thinking of hiding a CrossCabriolet away in the garage as a long-shot collectible, consider looking out for the unintentionally rare 2011 model.