Nissan Full-Size Pickups Need Patience

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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.

Comments

I bought Cummins stock today.

Keep on Truckin' Nissan Titan.


Your time will come!

I don't mind the styling on this truck. It looks fine to me.

Isn't there some irony in the fact that the name of the chief performance officer and chairman of Nissan America is Dodge?
Hey Dodge, what happened to the agreemwnt with Dodge to build Nissan trucks?
I think it was still Dodge at the time, I mean Dodge trucks, not Dodge the Ceo of Nissan.

The last sentance
"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."

Wide open territory between the Ridgeline and Tundra?
WTF
Isn't that called "no mans land"?

Poor-poor Titan. At least it looks better than the Tundra. If the Titan had a similar powertrain and chassis as the Tundra, without the horrible look of the Tundra, it would probably be a successful contender?

I get the strong impression that Nissan's Pickup efforts in the US is an afterthought. They are producing new models everywhere outside North America, but plod on selling virtually the same design in ever decreasing numbers. Something does not add up.

The styling of the Nissan Titan isn't bad at all. I'd take one in a heartbeat if it had the Cummins. Well, that and if I had some cash. :)

Am surprised only 20K sold this year?? Seems really low to me. But fuel consumption, flimsy plastic interior fittings, and interior door handle inaccessibility (exaggeration), noise from overhead electronic console turned my wife off my prospective purchase. My early production 05 Xterra feels much more of a solid piece.

Patience has its limits, take it too far and it's cowardice.

Who cares about what george michaels drives...

It's almost like Nissan hates trucks?

Already this needs to be shutdown this immature stuff needs to stop those of you who are doing it and you know who you are and you need to stop.

On a different note I have to disagree while I am not a big fan of the Tundra's front exterior as they should have made the lights even with the grill and a more boxed look I think it would have looked alright but I hate the Titans small grill and large bumper.

The Name of the Nissan guy in the article is Colin Dodge...

That's so fu@#in' awesome!

I owned a 74 Datsun 2wd truck back when I was a kid. It was beat to hell, but had plenty of power and ran great. Sadly, the transmission crapped out (had a couple hundred thousand miles on it...).

I would certainly be willing to consider a new Nissan if they got a little better mileage and were maybe a hair smaller...

And this goes for the Armada SUV as well...I hope that the new Titan is based on the overseas Nissan Patrol/American Infiniti QX56 with a more powerful 400hp V8, a base V6 out of the Frontier book for the Titan, 8-speed auto trans, and some HD models for the Titan.

LOL at Dodge being the CPO of Nissan. I haven't heard Diaz of Ram Trucks wanting to do business with Nissan yet...

Nissan has always made good little trucks. If I were in the market for a midsize truck, it would be a (pre-2004) Dakota or Frontier. The Titan has a couple interesting features, like wide swing rear extended cab doors (since copied by Chevy), power drop rear window on crew cab, and long bed available on crew cab. The Titan's weak point is it's drivetrain. Only one engine, which gets bad mpg, and a rear axle too weak for serious towing. If Nissan upgraded to a Dana 60 rear, and offered a small displacement v8 for better mileage in addition to the 5.6 for towing, the Titan would have sold much better. Sales have been so poor, that the current generation Titan is dead. Do a complete overhaul, change the styling (even though I kind of like it) and people might take a chance on the new Titan.

In 2007 I bought a new Titan to replace my 2002 Silverado. The Titan was a great truck and did everything I had been doing with my Silverado. No problem! The Titan pulled the same trailers, hauled the same loads, went the same places, drove on the same roads and did it better and smoother than my Silverado ever did. At that time I thought the Titan was light-years ahead of the Detroit competition. Because of employment circumstances where my employer gave me a new F150 to use I sold that Titan to one of my brothers who still uses it to this day in his construction business. Still runs great. The 2007 Titan I owned was great all by itself. Future improvements should knock the socks off everything but the Tundra. I own a 2009 Tundra now and it is an even better truck than the Titan was. Didn't think that possible, but it is.

Allow me to introduce you to Colin Dodge. No wonder this truck is in the shape its in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFkA-M9A7zM

My 2005 Titan is seven years old and still runs like new, it may not be the best truck in town anymore but I still love the way it drives and handles compared to some of the other full sizers, its not the fastest truck either but its not far behind and max power is at 2300 RPM's which is right where you want it.

I think Colin Dodge actually works for Dodge (Chrysler Group L.L.C.) but is moonlighting with Renault/Nissan. Chrysler is paying Mr. C. Dodge to do Renault/Nissan public relations work to keep his name (Dodge) in the public eye.

Thank you, Colin Dodge, for your services.

How about a regular cab and a long bed option on all models? Maybe even a cab and chassis? How about a v-6 and a diesel as options?
The balance of the yuppies and soccer mommies stopped buying pickups when gas hit $3 a gallon. Nissan needs to expand their target market to everybody if they want to be a major player.

nissan still makes the titan, really.

nissan still makes the titan, really.

It's not as bad as it is old. It was thoroughly competitive back when it was fresh and still has a decent chassis to work around. New/updated engines, a new transmission, and a new interior would go a long way in this truck.

The truck isn't that old, it was way ahead when it came out, and its just been slightly passed in recent years, Ford has basically had the same body style since 04 when the Titan came out, they've recently updated thier engines to be on par with the Titans.

I've seen several with a monochromatic look, lifts and large tires. They look better than many other trucks with mods.

It seems that every manufacture is talking 2013 for new trucks. That means late summer to fall of 2012 will be a busy time for Mark Williams.

IN 2004, the Titan put everyone on notice, when it bested almost eveything that the then new F150 did. On paper, anyhow. Since then, its stood absolutely still, and it has shown in the sales numbers ever since.
Moving forward Nissan is probably in a better position than Toyota to expand the Titan line upward, since they'll be offering 3/4 and 1 ton versions of the new cargo van. The Navarra (Global Frontier) now rolls around with a class-leading V6 diesel in some markets. That engine would be a better bet than Cummins. Cummins is very good at what they do, but building light pick-up engines isn't what they do.

Their new motto should be:

"Buy a new Nissan Titan and you won't be Colin Dodge!"

...or something to that effect. Too much coffee today.

I wonder how they would be doing sales wise, if they had never abandoned the plan of chrysler making the Titan for them, as a rebadged Ram.

I hope they get going with a diesel option. Of course that only makes sense with a next gen design.

At this rate pretty soon pickups will start looking like Mahindra's with the way these pickup manufacturers are so slow to upgrade and renew body styles and technologies.

"They look better than many other trucks with mods."

Yeah, Mahindras.

Yea, Mahindra's aren't pretty and aren't safe but might be a nice truck to give to your crazy in laws. It's no wonder they're so difficult to sell in Australia. In any event, thank gawd Mahindra was a premature ejaculation.

Back to Nissan and the hopes they can refresh the body styling and equip it with a little fuel efficient Cummins diesel engine.

Who cares if it only has one drivetrain, who cares if there's only a few configurations. Bcuz all those who comments on what it should've had isn't gonna buy one even if it had it. What a bunch of whiners trying to feel like winners.

@Mr Knowitall and The Nissan V6 Diesel is less effective than other 3 Litre diesel pickups. They, Nissan need to sort out the powertrain a bit more.
@Ken not just fuel efficient, but impressive hauling and towing as @Unclebud is finding out about the Hilux in Argentina. As far as a diesel of any capacity in a 1/2 ton pickup, it is more likely that a UFO will land on the White House Lawn.

Nissan is not selling nowhere near enough Titan's to make the effort worthwhile.

@uh huh - I care if it has only one drivetrain, I also care about options and configurations.
For example:
Ford has the most drivetrains and configurations, that dramatically increases the odds of retaining a client.
If I were to look at another F150, I'd have a choice of 4 engines and at least 14 models, multiplied by box lenght, and cab configurations.
Even Ram has doubled the model choices in their lineup. They are the fastest growing brand.
Tundra has limited options and doesn't sell all that well.
The Titan? scant choices and sparse sales.
GMC, I'm not sure why they sell as many as they do.

Ford trucks are the best trucks for snowplowing

@Robert:

I like Turtles!

Not too keen on Nissan's offering as there's a four-letter word I'm thinking of that doesn't rhyme with truck.

I wish it had LESS to offer. Like less size, less cost, less fuel, less luxury.

Get my point? Too big. Too expensive to purchase. Too costly to run. Simply put, too much of everything except bed; it doesn't have enough of that.

Vulpine, guess you are happy with your KIA Rio? Titan is actually priced real well for what you get. Remember it has a 5.6L not a V6 or small V8 and is a King or CC. No real el cheapo edition. Oh and BTW? The had a long bed CC beofre the Big 3 :). Still have it too.

I'm with husky liner on this one.

Why is this such a difficult concept for the executives to grasp?

There's two types of trucks that are in demand.
The trucks that can haul it all and the trucks that are smaller and have economical powertrains.

So they have to either catch up to the huge engines and capacities that the other brands have and then actually do some marketing and advertising to get the word out. Half the country only knows of 3 brands of trucks.

Or they have to cater to the people that need need a more economical truck. In which case just get rid of the full size platform and focus on the frontier or make it seriously efficient. It already has a crew cab with longbed, that is a huge plus. The price is already the best out of the lot. They need to make these things go more on a gallon and get some go getters out there to close some fleet deals and head to all the farms to demonstrate what it can do.

I think the problem with the truck it`s the engine choice Nissan need at least 1 V6 and a minimum of 2 V8 and the ice on the cake a small turbo diesel.



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