Nissan Fires Latest Volley in Truck Wars

2013 Titan_001 II

The last several months have been fun to watch:

* Near the end of last year, we were introduced to an all-new Ram 1500, and it's doing quite well with the media and with sales overall.

* The 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 created a lot of attention in December.

* The Ford Atlas stole a lot of the thunder at this year's North American International Auto Show.

* And just last week, Toyota made a pretty big splash at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show with its major design refresh of the 2014 Tundra.

Now we have news that a new 2015 Nissan Titan, the last of the six half-ton competitors, is on the horizon.

We're guessing it was not an accident that Nissan decided to release information about its future product plans for the full-size pickup the day before the world debut of Toyota's Tundra, which happened Feb. 7. With the segment so violently competitive lately, getting attention is a challenge.

Automotive News is reporting the next Titan should arrive sometime in the first or second quarter of 2014 as a 2015 model. As the oldest player in the segment, we hope Nissan has been studying some of the other, more successful players in the segment. For Nissan, as well as the average truck buyer, there is a lot at stake.

How We Got Here

Many will recall that the Titan was originally scheduled to be completely redesigned for the 2009 model year, sharing a platform design with an overhauled and all-new (with coil springs no less) Ram 1500, but those plans were derailed as Chrysler's relationship with Mercedes-Benz disintegrated. All of that turmoil meant Nissan was on its own to design a new full-size truck, putting the manufacturer significantly behind schedule.

In a Feb. 6 press release (download the full Nissan release here), Nissan America's Vice President of Product and Advance Planning and Strategy, Pierre Loing, said of the next Titan, "Our truck engineers and designers have very clear marching orders. Deliver a winner. Nothing is off the table. Many of our team have lived and studied the truck market and lifestyle most of their careers. They know the stakes."

From the sounds of that, this new truck could be promising. Whether or not Nissan knew what kind of changes (significant or otherwise) Toyota was making to its truck for the Chicago show, the timing of this announcement seemed perfect. As the smallest market-share player in the full-size pickup segment, Nissan has to do something dramatic if it wants to be taken seriously by truck buyers, which means something much more than an exterior reskinning or updated interior.

Listen Carefully

Clearly, automakers should not be cautious or conservative when planning long-term full-size truck strategy. Truck buyers are capable of comparing competing packages and configurations. And the truck makers are not just offering slightly improved models; they're coming to the truck fight with new engines, transmissions, clever cargo solutions, plenty of model choices, fuel economy technology and more.

Both Ram and Ford have done a stellar job lately (we'll cautiously reserve judgment on the 2014 GM trucks). They serve as a good template for Nissan to follow (for product update cadence, too).

We'd love to see Nissan do something significant with its cab configurations (give us the regular cab), wheelbases (a crew cab 6.5-foot box would be nice), powertrains (here's its chance with Cummins) and especially a new interior design (nothing needs to be said). If Nissan wants to play in the big leagues and dig itself out of the sales cellar, it needs to tackle all of these areas at once and create an aggressive product-cycle rhythm with mid-model refreshes. This is where Nissan can do the most damage to the Toyota Tundra, which just entered the party with a new dress but didn't lose any weight or give us any more "vavoom."

The full-size pickup truck segment demands serious attention because buyers are smart and discerning. We like what we're hearing from Nissan. But we've also been around long enough to know that words and promises never communicate as clearly and loudly as action and results. So we'll patiently wait to see what Nissan has to offer before deciding. All we know now is that Nissan has had some good success aggressively redesigning vehicles that are getting a lot of attention - the new Nissan Pathfinder comes to mind - and if that's any indication how aggressively re-engineered the new Titan can be, we're hopeful.

2013 Titan_006 II

 

Comments

Not sure about how "patient" I can be, but I'm waiting... and have been waiting for a while. Excited!

If Nissan offers a Diesel it is over for Toyota... PERIOD

I will buy one day one along with everyone I know.

As basically a niche player, Nissan is in the ideal situation to do something dramatic to get in the spotlight (diesel option?). If it redesigns the Titan to merely match the competition, while doing nothing unique, it will fade back to it's current position as an afterthought in the marketplace.

Diesel, V6 300+ hp, 7-speed auto, regular cab 6.5- and 8-foot beds, styled similar to the Nissan Patrol/2nd-gen Infiniti QX56, available HD chassis...if Nissan put all of that on the new Titan, Toyota Tundra will be dead.

What about Frontier? It's been around since 2004 with same motor and same exterior.

The first one out with a 1/2 ton diesel wins.The first one out with a midsize diesel pickup wins BIG.It's up to the oems to get off their asses and start doing instead of talking.

The rumor is that this new Titan will offer a diesel, and if that's the case, it's going to be hot (at least at first).

Of course, we've also heard that the Colorado will have a diesel, and it's coming out at about the same time...so a Nissan diesel might not be the game changer that some say.

There's also the fact that the cost of the diesel option ($5k seems likely) will price it out of the market.

In any case, people shouldn't assume that the Tundra and the Titan compete for the same buyer. Nissan buyers typically cross-shop the entire spectrum...a successful Titan is going to steal sales from everyone with the exception of Chrysler-Fiat, which isn't typically competing for Nissan buyers (which is why a Nissan-Ram tie-up made so much sense).

Nissan does offer a 7' bed on the Crew Cab, which in my opionion is to long, I think a 6'6" bed would be perfect.

@Mark Williams, you do realize that Nissan has the only 1/2 ton truck with a crew cab and a 7' bed? Nobody else offers this!

By that time my 2000 Silverado will probably hit 300k and will be ready to be replaced.....

Titan will be a very good truck if they:
- use the 5.6V8/7speed auto combo out of the Infinity lineup
- rehash the exterior/interior
- retune suspention
- beef up some of the drive line (rear axel)
- the 4 cylinder cummins would alway help (however I don't see that having enough power to be considered anything more then just an mpg option)

FYI to those who think this might be the next truck to market with a diesel. I been hearing several rumors the 3.0 VM V6 will be an option for the Ram next year.

Proof of concept testing on the cummins ISF was to be completed by the end of this year. It totally makes sense that model introduction would be 1Q or 2Q 2014. Results must look promising and releasing this with big red C badges on the front clip will have it flying out of showrooms.

Sign me up for a crew cab 4x4 with the cummins. I don't need a 400hp screamer but do need a truck capable of dragging a half cord of wood, toys and whole family to cabin getting about 26mpg.

Nissan has the ability to pull this off.
They do very well with the car side.
I do believe when the RAM chassis deal feel thru, it set them back on a launch of a new truck.
I agree, if the put the V6 Cummins in it, reliabilty alone will sell the truck.
To me, Nissan will need a game changer & this could be it.

Finally! This year is proving to be quite exciting for pick up trucks. New GM twins, RAM, updated Tundra, new Atlas concept revealed, Colorado announced, and now Titan in the near Future. The more competition, the better.

I would like to see and updated Tacoma and Frontier by the time Colorado hits the market, although that may not happen. At least with Toyota. Would be cool if the new Ranger and maybe even Mazda or VW would enter the mid size market in Canada and US.

Let's not forget all the changes in the comercial van market. Lots to read about, and I like it.

This is a worthless news story. Pure speculation. yawn....

I hope Nissan does a better job with the next Titan than they have with some of their more recent offerings. Before anyone jumps all over me, I'm not saying Nissans are crap or anything, but the redesigned Versa has been panned as basically the worst subcompact on the market, and the new Sentra certainly hasn't set the world on fire.

Listen to buyers?!?!
Yeah right.
None of the others have listened to buyers.

They're probably going to go ruining this truck. It's fine the way it is with the exception of improving MPG (plug-in electric is the answer not some fumey noise maker diesel, that'll never happen in this country) and improving reliability. It doesn't need a new body style. It doesn't need to be any bigger. It's currently the only half ton crew cab with a large 7+' bed. I'm confident with my machismo and my nepis size as it is. I don't need to play "who's got the biggest redneck truck in the neighborhood". I just need to get the job done. And I dont need any fake wood grain, leather seats or any of that other isht either to drive up the cost. Just a reliable and comfortable work tool at a reasonable (less than 30k) price so theres some money left over for the important things in life... beer, weed and hookers.

First half-ton with a diesel that can handle a plow is going in my garage. At this point I don't care which manufacturer makes it as long as it is reliable.

If I could get it with a handshaker too that would just be icing on the cake.

Nice to see Nissan finally updating the Titan. As for the folks talking diesel, I'm not sure how well a diesel option would actually sell. Higher upfront costs for clean diesel technology, higher maintenance costs and higher fuel costs for a little better fuel economy. Where's the advantage? The technology on the gassers has improved power and fuel economy quite a bit in the half ton segment. Obviously the manufacturers watch the market pretty close and don't see the demand as none have offered one yet. Who knows that may change though.

I have a feeling that the reason why Toyota did no powertrain “upgrades” yet is because they are waiting to see what Ford, GM and Nissan will do for power numbers. Dodge only upped the Hemi by 5hp and some torque, I believe Toyota’s reasoning behind this is that they would release the 5.7 iForce with let’s say 410 HP; then GM or Ford comes out with 430 HP.

That’s the only thing I can remotely consider for a reason why Toyota did no up the powertrain. I mean in 2007 they set the bar with 381 hp 401 torque, I figured they would do the same for the 2014.

I've always wanted to try a Nissan truck but over the years whenever I've upgraded I always end up with one of the big three instead. I'm not sure what it is. I want to like them, but always find something that holds me back. In today's market it seems like they are a lot more affordable and reliable than Toyota, but sort of like the unnoticed kid on a baseball team who never says much.

For my hard earned money Ram Trucks are the best trucks on the road right now. My 03 Hemi is still a great reliable truck. Great looks and lots of power.

For my hard earned money Chevy Trucks are the best trucks on the road right now. My 03 Silverado is still a great reliable truck. Great looks and lots of power.

For my hard earned money Toyota Trucks are the best trucks on the road right now. My 03 Tundra is still a great reliable truck. Great looks and lots of power.


For my hard earned money Ford Trucks are the best trucks on the road right now. My 03 F-150 is still a great reliable truck. Great looks and lots of power.


As far as the diesel argument goes, nobody seems to keep in mind that the premium paid at initial purchase remains nearly intact at resale. I for one am all for it. The performance alone is enough for me, diesel power is taylor made for trucks.

@someone you would think that VW could come in pretty easily with the Amarok and the US diesel motor in the Tourag.

Nissan does offer a 7' bed on the Crew Cab, which in my opionion is to long, I think a 6'6" bed would be perfect.

Posted by: Roger | Feb 13, 2013 1:38:57 PM

Agreed. The only reason Nissan offers a crew with a 7' bed vs. a 6'6" is so that it is on the same chassis as the King Cab 8' bed (1 foot more cab=1 foot less bed). But the KCLB hasn't been offered since about 2009...so unless they're planning on bringing it back (which would be likely if they introduced a regular cab, but unlikely otherwise), they should just bring it down to 6'6" so they can use the same bed as the King Cab.

Also, am I the only one who thinks a regular cab, short bed 4x2 diesel would be the sickest thing since the Black Plague?

@Roger

Quote: Nissan does offer a 7' bed on the Crew Cab, which in my opionion is to long, I think a 6'6" bed would be perfect.

???just 6 inches is too long? I think it's great, they offer the biggest bed in a crew cab.

@devo340 - Cummins was working with Nissan on an I-4 not a V6. Does Cummins make a V6?

@TundraHQ - I can't see a diesel costing $5,000. Most of the diesels in European cars and SUV's available in NA average 3,500.

Nissan quite literally has nothing to loose and everything to gain with an aggressive run at the truck market.l

"Near the end of last year, we were introduced to an all-new Ram 1500"

The New York Auto Show last April was "near the end of last year"?

I recall a few years back Cummins had a v6 they were targeting for the half ton market.

Looks like the RAM will be the first half ton truck diesel.......http://www.trucktrend.com/features/news/2013/163_news130213_2013_ram_1500_diesel/index.html

@Lou, I think you are correct.
The V6 Cummins was for RAM.

I was thinking a half ton diesel would be great at one point. But I have found DEF to change my outlook on a personal vehicle. On a work truck whatever, you just need to get the job done. I for one hate the inconvenience especially when you cant even keep extra in the cab from freezing overnight in Alberta winters. I wouldn't buy a small diesel halfton for that reason. I also think these new gassers are pretty decent performing for a halfton. The 5.0 is quite a bit more impressive than the 5.4.

@ UncleBud
It looks like the OEM's are getting the message. look at the article about the coming RAM 1500.

Anthony

Adding DEF once every 5-8K miles is a hassel?

Ram's announcement makes Nissan's volly look like a fart in a hurricane.

@Lou--I agree with you Nissan needs to play poker and go for broke. Nissan has slipped so far in the truck market that they have nothing to lose by going for a diesel and to redesign the Frontier to be a tad bit smaller and more efficient. Offer Frontier with a diesel. Datsun trucks use to be a leader in small trucks and could be again with the right products. Toyota needs some real competition in the small truck market and a redesigned Frontier with the diesel option would be a real shot over the bow at Toyota. Nissan either needs to get out of the NA market or just go for broke and make a truck that will be noticed.

I'm thinking about buying the Frontier since there is no longer a Ranger. I hate to since I'm a Ford man but the F150 is too large for me.

Seems like every couple weeks needs more. Then on top that the injector also freezes constantly in Sierra 3500 and then you have to find a pay and spray type wash rack to heat it/melt ice or whatever before your speed is limited.

Nissan Motor Company Ltd usually shortened to Nissan is a Japanese multinational automaker headquartered in Japan. It was a core member of the Nissan Group.

Regular cab w/ a 5.5 ft optional 6.5 ft bed with a v6, I4 Cummins and a option v8.
Beef up the 4.0 to at least 300 hp
Beef up the 5.6 to 370 to 400 hp
Spray on bed liner standard across the board
NISMO edition to compete with the Ram R/T
Beef the tow rating to 10 to 10.5 k
Utilize storage bins like the Ram don't copy them but come up with something cool and useful


I have been a Titan fan since day one. I have owned three so far. I would like to see the redesigned VK56VD engine THAT THEY PUT IN THE INFINITI M56 sedan and QX56 (which by the way came out in 2011 and HAS 420HP in the M56 and 400HP in the over priced Armada and has the varible vavle cam system which improves mpg!) Put in the nissan titan. As a loyal Titan owner, I find this move on Nissans part a slap in the face. I will wait to see the next titan, but if they do not put that motor in the new model, then Ill will be buying a nice new Tundra. You say you want to compete but you have had 9 years to work on this truck and haven't produced anything but excusses. Oh and a new tail gait! Wow. Really I think the 2013 should have had the new motor but you some how dropped the ball on that one. That would have boosted your sales for at least enough time to design two more trucks. Sincerly nissan titan owner still waiting.

Im so glad Nissan did not Do a deal with Chrysler. I've owned 4 nissans and they were all problem free unlike Chrysler vehicles that are riddled with problems. Will definitely have a new Titan!

Do you know how long a Titan would last with a diesel in it? I can envision an archeologist 2000 years from now digging one up and then he gets in and turns the key and it starts!!!

Love my 2008. 105k no problems. That's
What I need a hwy cruiser. 20" Rims.
Half Ton, sleek, not boxy like Ford and Chevy.
Quick off the line. Work/hwy. for me.
I'm waiting but 2015 better be it.
Something unique. Not plastic like Fords.
Velcro dash piece of junk. C'mon Nissan
can do it...

A diesel option with 350-400 ft-lb of torque would be plenty for a half-ton pickup. It doesn't need to have big hp numbers. It's not going to be quick, but then neither was the original 3/4 ton Dodge Cummins (160 hp, 400 ft-lb torque) but it towed well and could get easy 20 mpg unloaded. I just bought a 2013 F-150 after having a 2004 Titan for 9 years. I really liked my Titan and I would go back to Nissan in a heartbeat for a reasonably powerful diesel with good torque numbers at low RPM, good for both towing and fuel economy.

Why do you need so much power for a half-ton? Load capacity should be no more than 1,000 Imperial pounds (after passengers) with maybe a 5,000 pound tow limit. A three-quarter ton should be 1500 pounds (after passengers) with perhaps a 7,500 pound tow and anything else should go to the one-ton or higher. As such, bloomin' 400ft-lbs of torque is simply overkill.

2015 NISSAN FRONTIER intrior alone looks like nissan patrol

I hope the Cummins partnership yields a diesel option for the Armada too. I am a pretty loyal Ford guy but Ford has taken their own sweet time getting ecoBoost into the Expedition and I would prefer a diesel anyway. I would switch from Ford for a diesel if the overall length were short enough to deal with trailers in and out of driveways on narrow city streets (the reason I drive an SUV instead of a pickup in the first place).



Post a Comment

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
  • Your email will not be shown.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Home | Buy or Sell a Truck | News | Special Reports

Powered by Cars.com. By using this site, you agree to our terms of service | © 2014 Cars.com | Privacy Statement | Contact Us

Visit our partner: MovingTruck.com