Nissan plans to rejoin the pickup-truck wars by unveiling a new Titan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next year.
It will be the latest in a series of new-model launches aimed at aggressively increasing the Japanese automaker’s share of the U.S. market.
CEO Carlos Ghosn has said he wants to boost Nissan’s share of U.S. market from 7.9% in 2012 to 10% by 2016. Another goal is to build in North America 85% of the vehicles Nissan sells in the U.S.
In an 18-month period, the automaker will have launched new versions of five core models representing 75% of U.S sales. The Rogue is launching now, a new Murano is coming this fall and there is a new Maxima sometime in the next year or so.
A new Titan full-size pickup is long overdue. The truck has not been updated for about 12 years because Nissan was relying on its partnership with Chrysler to use the Ram as the basis for a new Titan. The unraveling of the deal forced Nissan to design and engineer a new truck from scratch.
Fred Diaz, who oversees sales and marketing for Nissan North America, was head of Ram before joining Nissan in May, brought his passion and expertise for trucks to Nissan’s design studio.
Diaz is quick to note that Titan’s current configurations means it competes in only 55% of the light-duty pickup segment. The new Titan will have the frame, body and bed configurations to compete in 90% of the segment, he promised. The full-size pickup will also be offered with a choice of a gasoline engine or Cummins 5-liter V-8 turbodiesel.
Diaz said Nissan is gauging interest in a 2.8-liter Cummins turbodiesel for the smaller Frontier pickup. The compact Frontier was “essentially ignored,” Diaz said. Meeting requests from dealers for more trucks with a 4-cylinder engine has resulted in stronger sales.