At a time when natural disasters and economic hurdles are working against the Nissan Titan, the Japanese brand remains committed to the full-size pickup market in the U.S.
"The first go in the segment wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination," Colin Dodge, chief performance officer and chairman of Nissan America, said in an interview with Automotive News.
Dodge went on to say that it could take as many as two or three generations of truck developement and production to offer a product as professional as the other comeptitors in the segment, some of whom have 50 or 60 years of experience behind them.
Dodge said one of the biggest factors in his mind that's keeping the Titan from succeeding is that it has only one engine choice at a time when powertrain flexibiity is being rewarded in the marketplace. "With the right powertrains with the right (variety of) power, I think we can still excel," he said. Although Dodge did not get specific, we can assume Nissan would be interested in continuing its march to full automotive segment coverage with hybrid powertrains and possibly a new V-6. Likewise, we would hope Nissan is exploring the idea of a smallish turbo-diesel or turbo gas engine as well.
Sales of the Titan by year's end are likely to be just over 20,000 units, a far cry from its 85,000-unit peak just six years ago. Other import truck makers will likely need to make the same tough calls regarding segment success measured in decades instead of years.
Whether or not Nissan's patience will hold out will depend mainly on the types of clever and/or sophisticated powertrain solutions the brand can come up with when the new Titan debuts (fingers crossed) next year as a 2013 model. Working in Nissan's favor is the fact there seems to be plenty of wide-open desgin and technology terrtitory between vehicles like the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tundra.