Nissan is hoping to gain marketshare in the midsize pickup truck segment now that the Ford Ranger finished its triple decade production run last month, closing the St. Paul, MN, Twin City Assembly Plant.
In a recent interview with Lindsay Chappell of the Automotive News, Al Castignetti, Nissan Division's U.S. sales boss, said "We're really the beneficiary of Ford pulling out of the segment...We felt it was an opportunity to capture market share and we went after it last year, and we went after it without increasing incentives."
Nissan sold 51,700 Frontier midsize pickups in 2011--up 28 percent from 2010. "We got our dealers reinvigorated on the truck and got our marketing out there," Castignetti says. "We're having great success with it."
To step up awareness for the Frontier, Nissan created the truck's first ad campaign in four years, the sales boss said. The campaign promotes the Frontier as a less expensive alternative to full-sized pickups, and makes the vehicle very attractive to young buyers.
Despite Ford's lack of enthusiasm for compact pickups, they outsold Nissan in the segment last year, selling 70,832 Rangers, also a 28 percent uptick from 2010.
But unlike Nissan, Ford remains king of the full-sized pickup segment with its top-selling F-Series. Last year, Ford sold nearly 585,000 full-sized pickups, while Nissan's full-sized Titan pickup sold fewer than 22,000 units.