It's official: Nissan Vice President of Sales and Marketing Fred Diaz announced that the new relationship with Cummins Inc. will begin with the next-generation Nissan Titan full-size half-ton pickup truck. Nissan has not announced whether that will be a 2015 or 2016 model, but it's good to hear news like this because it implies Nissan is serious about significantly improving the worst-selling half-ton in the U.S. marketplace.
"We have done our homework on the next-generation Titan. Truck owners told us there's a demand for the performance and torque of a diesel in a capable truck that doesn't require the jump up to a heavy-duty commercial pickup," Diaz said in a statement. "There is no question that the new Titan will turn heads, and with the available Cummins 5.0-liter V-8 turbo-diesel, we expect to win new fans and attract buyers looking for this unique configuration."
We've been reporting since May 2009 that Cummins was committed to light-duty diesel engines, whether it partnered with Ram Truck or another manufacturer. In fact, PickupTrucks.com had heard that several of the half-ton truck makers were getting ready to offer light-duty diesel options in the mid-2000s, but bankruptcies and the recession put many of those product plans on hold.
Previously, Cummins partnered with Nissan and the federal government to study the feasibility and fuel economy results of a small turbo-diesel engine in a large truck. The U.S. Department of Energy delivered the findings on the Cummins Atlas engine project in a 2012 report. The high-tech 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder was reported to offer 385 pounds-feet of torque and more than 26 mpg city/highway combined (which would likely fit in the smaller Frontier as well).
Nissan did not offer many details about the new partnership; however, the engine slated for the new Titan will not be the smaller four-cylinder, but the completely new, much bigger light-duty diesel 5.0-liter V-8, with another version slated for the commercial market. By our calculations, given what Cummins has been doing with new smaller and smarter variable-fin turbochargers, we'd guess the torque ratings could be somewhere in the 550 pounds-feet range and horsepower more than 300.
For the full press release on the Nissan/Cummins partnership, click here.