Nissan Still Has Big Plans for Titan

2013Titan_012 II
 

Kelsey Mays, Cars.com 

Nissan's full-size pickup truck, the Titan, is a bit player if there ever was one. Last year, Nissan sold just 21,576 Titans. That's far below the 83,848 trucks sold in 2004, the Titan's first full year on the market. The Chevrolet Avalanche — a crew-cab pickup that GM markets to lifestyle buyers — outsold the Titan last year, and it's on its way out.

But there's an opportunity yet. The housing-construction market is on a slow but steady rebound, with new-home starts seeing some of their highest levels since mid-2008. Pickup sales have about a 95% correlation to the housing market, Citi investment analyst Itay Michaeli told us. "We think we are on the cusp of a major unlocking of pent-up demand" for the segment, Michaeli said at a Society of Automotive Analysts conference on the eve of the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Even the bit players won't be left out.

Jose Munoz, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan Americas, spoke at a media roundtable Monday at the auto show.

"We understand that it is very important" to remain in the segment, Munoz said. "Full-size is where the potential is."

"It is going to be strong; we are going to be in that segment," he added. "We'll give you a little bit more details on this in the months to come," but it will come "at a little bit later stage" than GM's launch of the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

It's safe to say Nissan's current entry is stale. The Titan came in fourth out of five trucks in our $30,000 Shootout two years ago, and the one truck that placed worse — the Chevrolet Silverado — has been completely redesigned.

Can Nissan make inroads and ride the construction wave?

"It's pretty tough" for the major Japan-based players — Nissan and Toyota — to make inroads," Citi's Michaeli said. "There's a lot of loyalty in that segment."

Still, the automaker's NV full-size van has the roots for a next-gen, full-size pickup, with the potential to go HD. Stay tuned, and we'll let you know when Munoz shares more. 

Comments

We've been staying tuned for the last five years, its time we see some action and details on this.

they would be better off to concentrate on the mini market. There is no way I'd ever go import in the full size market.

Stuff is all wrong for a work truck.

What stuff is wrong Scott, it has a fully boxed frame, no fuss interior, high ground clearance with no frame or air dams hanging down. Only thing it needs is a stouter rear end.

nissan should use the qx56's powertrain. 5.6 di with a 7 speed automatic. and for pete's sake, put a rear end under the truck! they never offered a true limited slip and the locker is only avaliable on the pro4x. the 3.7 with 7 speed would make a great base powertrain option to compete against ram. make reg cab standard and long, crew cab short and standard. all of this quad and extended crap is on its way out anyway.

the mega cab needs to go as well. has anyone heard anything on the next tundra. rumors said at one time a hd tundra with a catepillar diesel would appear. i see no reason for the 4.6 on the next tundra the ram and ford are going. but they could be a "japanese chevrolet" and still offer a v6 and 2 v8s.

I have heard people complain about the Titan rear diffs for years. Are they still problematic or has this issue been dealt with by Nissan? I think there was also a breather tube issue (though that may have been the Frontier only) that let water get in the diff easily if you were somewhere very wet / fording a stream. Was/is this an issue? Has it been fixed. I always liked how the Titan (and Frontier) have looked. I hope that they update the truck and stay in the game.

Any plans would be big plans for the Titan. It has nowhere to go but up. Even Ford with their grille changes every two years beats the Titan. They are in last place easily with Ford next to last.

I think Nissan should offer a compact - something they could excel with. A manual, shift-it-yourself, basic truck.

The rumor is that the next Titan will feature a small diesel, small and fuel efficient V6, and the same V8.

It's also said that Nissan is going to focus even more on the commercial business as they try to attack Ford and GM's stranglehold on that market with a solid (albeit old) truck platform that has decent economies of scale (the Titan and Frontier are largely equivalent, so there's plenty of volume there).

However, this seems like a dangerous strategy...if consumers associate the Titan with cheap commercial trucks, it's going to be tough for Nissan to sell the high-end models that earn the big bucks. Only I bet having a diesel will help attract consumers, at least until someone else (Ram?) brings one out in their half-ton.

Bob has it right. A small, no-frills Nissan truck for those of us who work their trucks and don't need a Taj Mahal on wheels. Some company will do it, somewhere, somehow, for the US market.

@Living in Farmville
US pickups are making more and more money out of the daily driver and SUV alternative customers. So they will increasing have their design dynamics targeting them.

If you want a truck you will end up having to buy a Transit cab chassis, that seems to be the direction they are heading in.

I recall seeing HD Titan mules YEARS ago- everything was bigger- 8-lug hubs, D-60ish rear axle, wider rear springs, even the center frame section under the cab was easily 3" taller. Since Nissan already builds vans as 2500 and 3500 versions off the titan platform, it would seem that the HD bits were all but ready to go. Nissan has an in-house 3L V6 diesel available, too. I'm sure Robert Ryan could tell you all about it.

@Mr Knowitall,

"Nissan has an in-house 3L V6 diesel available, too. I'm sure Robert Ryan could tell you all about it."

Yes it has been developed by Renault not so much Nissan. It has 406lbs ft of torque.

@Robert Ryan- Since Mr Bean has been at the helm of both operations, I bet he feels Renault is sufficiently "in-house". That, as opposed to buying one from VWAG, MB, VM, or Cummins. Did I miss anyone else who makes a V6 diesel?

I'm just so tired of waiting

Why does everyone talk about "pent up demand"? Nissan sold 1/4 the number of trucks that they did the first year out. Fiscal cliff will neuter the "pent up demand" crowd pretty quickly.

Forget the small diesels, Nissan also has all of the big UD diesels used in the medium duty trucks that they make. I think they should use one of those if they build an HD pickup

Both the Titan and the Tundra remain viable options for people who do not want to buy or support Ford, GM or Dodge. I'm someone who owned Ford, GM and Dodge trucks in the past, and I don't care to own them again.

I currently own a Titan and I had a great ownership experience with it. It beats every truck I owned before it, in every way important to me. You don't see too many of them on the road but when you see one the driver always smiles and waves.

My next new truck will be either a Titan or a Tundra, depending which is the freshest on the market.

Nissan seems to have lots of "plans".

January 2010 - Nissan getting back to small trucks
http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2010/01/2010-naias-nissan-wants-to-take-small-trucks-back-in-time.html

May 2011 - Titan to get a diesel
http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/05/cummins-feds-developing-four-cylinder-diesel-for-nissan-titan/comments/page/3/

2013 - Same old Frontier / same old Titan (albeit with minor tweaks I suppose) Actually, the "2013" Frontier is not even available yet ....

I know all the manufacturers do this, I was just hoping Nissan would have a better follow-thru because they do have, what I think, are some good conceptual ideas.

IMHO, all the manufacturers need more emphasis on affodability (purchase & maintenance) and less on luxury and increased size. I guess they're doing what makes money though, not what meets consumer needs.

Lou, there is a "pent-up demand", but it is not being realized because folks are waiting for the right product. The premise that we are weak-willed and will buy whatever is offered won't work until all the older compacts are depleted.
I would buy now if the right product were offered.

nissan needs to partner with ford on a f 150 truck like they were going to with dodge.

Ford needs to partner with nissan with a frontier small truck.

@Bob - maybe for small trucks, but for big pickups? Pickup sales are huge due to the "SUV with a box" purchasers. People who want a do it all vehicle but not an SUV. Pickup sales took off initially due to the ext. cab and now the crew. If work usage was the only reason to buy a pickup everyone's sales would be 75% less than what they are now. How many pickups earn someone's food on the table?
Car companies hate fleet sales due to the poor margins.

Lou, you are 100% correct regarding the full-sized market. There is no "pent-up" demand for work trucks.

Both Nissan and Toyota have let their pickups lapse into mediocrity.Both their fullsize trucks never really 'made it' here and won't unless they decide to build a 'better mousetrap' so to say.A diesel option would go a long way.....maybe.

I am currently looking for a new/newer truck o upgrade from my 2000 dakota I bought in 02.The problem is I cant afford a 30 something to 42 thousand titan or any other truck for that matter.If they droppd the price to 20-25 grand these trucks would be flying out the door ,just my 2 cents.I'd love to see some one make a simple v8 w a 5/6 speed manual shift trans,4 by 4,no leather,power nothing inside the vehicle,a radio ac,crank windows ,rubber floors you can wash out and keep it AFFORDABLE! THis is my defination of a work truck,I know they made them like this years and years ago so dont tell me it cant be done!

I bought a toyota tundra and man what a mistake that was.My co had always used fords for the quality and toughness.I let a friend talk me into buying the tundra and all the toyota quality crap.

To make a long story short it has with out a doubt been the worst truck I ever purchased.If people who own a toyota think thats quality they need to head to there nearest ford dealer fast to see what quality is all about and i'll bet like me they get themselves a ford or back into one.

I even over looked the uglyness of the tundra but walking out to that bass faced thing every day with its sub par quality got old quick.Never again will anything toyota be in my drive or at my co.

Don't be fooled like I was toyota quality is a myth and ford quality is a given!

i own a 04 tundra with the 4.7. no gts for towing but i can park it anywhere i wish. i cant afford a 3 year old ford and i owned an 06 dodge from new and lemon lawed it. the toyota got to big and low. i just bought a new 12 titan for 24000 it listed for 38,900. no brainer for me!



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