Next Nissan Titan Will Appeal to Tradesman

Nissan Titan
It’s no secret Nissan has to do something dramatic to get its full-size Titan pickup truck back on the consideration list for new-truck consumers. According to Automotive News, product planners have decided to crack this nut by making the next-generation Titan more appealing to buyers who use their vehicle for work — specifically, the journeyman tradesman. 

“We don’t have a single cab … we don’t have a V-6 engine … as far as the commercial guy goes, I don’t really think he is considering a Titan because it doesn’t have a work image,” said Joe Castelli, vice president of commercial vehicles and fleet. 

Reports in 2009 had the redesigned Titan based off the Ram 1500 platform, but that deal fell through because of the Chrysler bankruptcy and subsequent Chrysler/Fiat merger. That new Titan was originally scheduled to debut as a 2012 model.  

As you might expect, when the Titan/Ram project was canceled, the Nissan design and engineering teams had to scramble. Now the reports say a new Titan is likely to come to market as a 2014 model and will have many significant changes, not the least of which includes an assortment of powertrains, wheelbases, and cab configuration options. 

We reported earlier this year that Cummins and Nissan were doing preliminary background research regarding a four-cylinder turbo-diesel, in a joint venture with the U.S. Department of Energy.  Although we’re working on getting more up-to-date info, we believe the project is still advancing. 

During a recent outing with Nissan engineers, we took note of the many questions the Titan marketing and product planners asked about the width and breadth of the Ford F-150 lineup. And they seemed particularly interested in the number of wheelbases, cab configurations and specific bed lengths they offered. Of course, they didn’t give us any specifics, but we did take note of the questions.  

Whether or not this means we’ll see the new Titan coming to market in much the same way the Toyota Tundra burst out of the gates, trying to appeal to construction and contractor consumers certainly would require more than two cabs, one wheelbase and one engine option.  More to come. 


Nissan needs a commitment to the pickup platform. It isn't enough to keep the same design and style year over year with a single engine choice. I sure hope the 4 cyl Cummins appears.

Good job Nissan.

If any people from Nissan are reading this, offer a manual shift transfer case. I know several people who have had difficulty with the electric shift on Chevys and Fords. Electrical connections get caked with mud and cease to function properly. Solenoids and motors can burn out. Plus, some of these systems WILL NOT engage unless the vehicle is rolling, regardless of what manufacturers may claim. How does that help if you're already hung up? Offer a lever actuated 4x4 instead of electronic, and in my opinion, you instantly have an advantage over Toyota, Ram, and Ford in the half ton market. For the moment, GM still offers a lever on WT trim.

It is cool to see something else posted here besides the stupid Craptor for a change. Anyone else agree?

It would have been nice for it to be built off the ram platform.

Still wouldnt buy one tho.

" And they seemed particularly interested in the number of wheelbases, cab configurations and specific bed lengths they offered"

Nissan is doing the same thing outside NA in an effort to catch up to Hilux sales. They are partnering with Mitsubishi to bring out a totally new Pickup.

"We reported earlier this year that Cummins and Nissan were doing preliminary background research regarding a four-cylinder turbo-diesel, in a joint venture with the U.S. Department of Energy. Although we’re working on getting more up-to-date info, we believe the project is still advancing."

Sounds like the bare bones "Tradies Ute " is going to make its mark in North America.

Can't wait to see the new Titan!!

copy of the Ram tradesman sticker? ram come out with tradesman early this year small work truck with v8 and long best

Nissan - please build the new titan off of the modified titan platform that became the nissan patrol in global markets and the new infiniti q56 in north america!

with all of the extreme testing that the patrol underwent, you know that you have a great starting point for a redesigned titan. plus a 400 hp v8 would sure be great under the hood.

Memo to Nissan: a Cummins diesel will do more for your "work image" than all the other changes you could make combined. It is revered here in North America. Seize the moment; look what it did for RAM.

I have to agree with DC. Cummins has all the work cred that you need.
There does need to be more configurations and drivetrain choices.

It will be interesting to see who gets a 1/2 ton diesel to market 1st - Ram or Nissan.
Nissan desperately needs a halo truck with work cred. The Cummins would give them all of that.

My money is on Ram. They have been expanding the range of options in their pickups.
If Ram and Nissan both show up with a diesel - ouch.
Any chance of GMC upstaging the competition goes down the toilet, and Ford has to stop looking over its shoulder at GMC but start looking at Ram.
I think that Ram will be number 2 in the USA truck market if they come out with a baby diesel 1/2 ton, a new base level V6, a V6 TTDI, and a 392 or even better, a 426 hemi option, and put all of these engines in front of an 8 speed.


Bob calls the Raptor the "Craptor" because he knows it craps all over any Chevy.

I am driving a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado RCLB 4x4 right now because Nissan did not a have a regular cab long bed Titan , its about time Nissan got there act together , maybe they will make a regular cab long bed 4x4 Frontier with the next redesign so I can trade my Silverado off .

How about going back to Nissan's roots and making a reliable truck this time?

because it doesn’t have a work image,” said Joe Castelli, vice president of commercial vehicles and fleet.

Luke, I'd love to see them offer a REAL 4x4 with the
manual shift xfer case and lockout hubs as well. They can
Continue to offer the push button system to people who
prefer to pee sitting down.
There is no end to the list of things that need improvement.
Cleaning house of the exterior styling designers and
bringing in people who have a sense of style, pizzaz and
good taste would be near the top of my list.

I still think there is HUGE oppotunity in market for truck that fits these specs:

* Wide like fullsize, but as short as a midsized suv with a short bed.
* 2 door, 2 row, large 5 seater cab. small bed.
* a midgate that opens into into flat rear seats
* huge rear window.
* Rambox like feature with square bed.
* Sheet of plywood fit exactly in bed with mid and tail gates down
* light weight, low truck
* 300 hp, 5000lb towing, 22 mpg CITY.


Most reports seem to suggest that Ram's Cummins is a small displacement V8.

Whereas, Nissan's Cummins test was with an I4.

Even if they bring both out at the same time, they would likely appeal to different people thanks to a huge disparity in configuration, displacement, power, and fuel economy.

I can see Nissan beating Ram to the market with the I4 Cummins. It would be a great fit for the existing NV Vans. They would effectively be offering it in 2 different product lines right out of the gate.

There is a LWB Titan by the way. IIRC the crew cab had an option giving it the longest 1/2 ton bed length in the class. They also had a King Cab version. One was discontinued. I think it was the King cab option off the top of my head. To be honest I feel it is lack of powertrain options that crippled the Titan more than anything. New truck sales, outside of fleet sales, are predominantly extended cabs. Even contractors. The extra space is handy.

They would have to stretch that thing so It could haul something.

If Nissan or RAM does pull this 1/2 ton diesel thing off, GM would have missed a BIG opportunity. Weird how GM pioneered the 1/2 ton diesel market in the 90s and is reluctant to issue another one...this would be a nice opportunity to bring it back...

Though I'm not that crazy about a Cummins diesel engine in a Titan that would seem more suitable in a Nissan Frontier (I mean four-cylinder...REALLY?!), I guess it's a step in the right direction for Nissan.
Meanwhile, it should offer a V6 like the NV van, a standard cab long bed, and full-time 4WD for the upscale models.

BTW that Titan pictured has to be edited; the rear window looks to flushed.

I meant "too flushed."

@cyberpine - An F150 meets many of your specs. The 3.7 V6 has 300HP, tows up to 6500lbs (aprox), and has better mpg than the ecoboost at 23mpg. I will concede I dont know what the city mpg is but not many fullsize sedans get 22mpg city so that may be a bit of a stretch.

@Billy it doesn't matter so much how many cylinders when I comes to a diesel engine. Many of the road tractors you see are 6 cylinder, it's just that the jugs are as big around as your thigh. The 4 cylinder Cummins f-250 I rode in while in Argentina had plenty of power. I hope they can offer this at a reasonable cost, I'd pay a $5K premium. I wonder how Mercedes offers their 'BlueTec' diesels for only a $1500 premium? Perhaps global sales cut costs, while our HD diesel options here are a $8K premium and as far as I know they only sell the 6.6 Duramax, the Powerstroke, the 6.7 Cummins here in the US?

If they come through on the mileage end, this is a truck I would seriously consider buying...Better yet, they should put that I-4 diesel in the Frontier.

I also like Luke's Idea about having an ACTUAL FREAKIN' LEVER between me and my transfer case. The new electro/vacuum/whatever crap fine when it's new, but that sh!t is frail and is often a source of problems later in the vehicle's life. I mean, is it really THAT much more difficult for a person to throw a lever than it is for them to push a damn button (or turn a knob)?

Trucks (from ALL manufacturers) have gotten so complicated, they just don't last without all sorts of little niggling crap going wrong with them.

The less there is to break, the better.

I think some of you are confused on what doesn't function on a 4X4 with an electronic transfer case. All that knob does is work a motor that does exactly what the handlever does. It is all internal. The usual problem area lies in the hubs up front which GM had problems with for many years. Nissan and, up until the new models, Ram do not use free wheel hubs. The front axle spins all the time. If I had a choice I'd go back to the get out and turn them manual hubs. Not sure why it was a big deal to turn them before you went into a situation where you needed them. Mine stayed engaged all winter so I just had to throw the lever in my trucks.

I've worked as a service technician and have forgotten more about transfer case linkages (solenoid/motorized/purely mechanical) than most people are ever unfortunate enough to learn.

The fact of the matter is, button/switch-shifted cases unnecessarily increase the complexity of shifting the case by an order of magnitude. This is something that could be taken care of just as easily (by the driver) and far more reliably with simple mechanical linkage.

You've got button contacts to fail, connector connections to fail, wiring under your vehicle to get snaged by a branch, a relay to fail, and an electric motor to fail...this is all IN ADDITION TO all of the mechnical stuff associated with a shifting a transfer case that can go wrong (fork pads wearing out, linkage wearing out and binding, etc.) Plus, half of this crap is hanging down under the truck where it is subject to spraying salt water, immersion in mud, rocks, branches and who knows what else!

If the transfer case has an "Auto 4WD" feature that couples/disconnects the front shaft output to/from the front end (ala GMC/Chevy since '99) that's yet ANOTHER litany of points of failure you are introducing to the system.

And of course, as soon as a transfer case can be shifted electronically, control freak engineers simply CANNOT resist the temptation to second-guess the driver at every turn, and you need to have sensors that tell the PCM the current state of every damned mechnical widget in the system so it can call the shots and protect the 'case from the driver's own stupidity. And, of course, if any little sensor fails or the mechanical bits get tired or dirty and something no longer lines up perfectly with its sensor, the computer won't let it shift.

It's ridiculous.

You're right that a front drive axle disconnect of some sort adds yet ANOTHER boatload of sh!t to go wrong when shifting into and out of 4WD, but as you said, many manufacturers are just letting both front drive axles and the driveshaft spin all the time nowadays. (Which makes more sense, mechanically, but is hard on mileage).

paul810 - thanks for the extra information. If Ram goes with a small V8 diesel and Titan an I4 diesel that would hurt more than a similar offering because it would give consumers more choice.

I agree with the guys wanting simpler trucks. My first truck had a fuse box the size of a pack of cigarettes, my new truck's fuse box is bigger than a car battery.

My truck has the shift dial, it does shift a bit sluggishly in really cold weather = colder than -25 Celcius. That goes away once the truck warms up.
Guys pining away for locking hubs - they are not without their own unique problems. I've had them freeze up in cold weather and not engage. (Even with proper maintenance.)

But then again, nothing works great in really cold weather.

"But then again, nothing works great in really cold weather."


Preach on, my Canuckistan brother! I live in northern MN where we routinely see -30 to -40 Farenheit in the dead of winter. Temperatures typically plunge this low right after a big cold front moves through and what usually happens right before a big cold front comes through? Snow.

So here you are NEEDING 4WD just to get out of your damned driveway and the sh!t you most need to work right is packed with rock-hard, fossilized snow and ice, your battery's available amperage has been cut in half, and the oil in your transfer case is so cold, it's viscosity has been reduced to the consistency of Aunt Jemimah's maple syrup.

Spend any amount of time actually WORKING on vehicles and seeing all of the sh!t that can (and does) go wrong with them and you'll walk away with a much greater appreciation for simplicity in design.

There's usually a lot more going on than meets the eye.

@ jason h

thanks, i'll take the reliability of the electronic shift transfer case ANYDAY over the mechanical linkage that gets bent, gummed up, and doesnt work correctly. a PROPER design on an electronic shift (notice i said proper design) is 1000 times MORE reliable than a mechanical shift. when you have a switch/button designed well it will outlast the whole vehicle, to further that you then send a signal to a constant duty solenoid that is TOTALLY out of any weather, salt, ect. and that controls a mechanical lever INSIDE THE SAID TRANSFER CASE that is internally lubricated so it doesnt wear out like the mechanical design. As long as you have the wiring properly ran it will never be in a position to get caught by anything under the truck and NOW you would have a reliable system. Something that could be learned by other manufacturers that Toyota has been doing for years.

OH, P.S. If your system is designed well enough (Toyota's is) you can shut off some and then all of the electronic controls at the push of a button, thanks i'll take that robust system EVERY DAY over my 87 K5 blazer that i own with all mechanical crap that fails with weather and time.

I like the shift lever better in my 2011 Jeep than a button offered in MOST all trucks now.

Jason H, I agree with you. My Wrangler doesn't have manual or electronic hubs or electronic junk to put it in 4WD, no solenoids to disengage the front SOLID axle, just an old fashioned NP-241 transfer case with a lever insdie the Jeep and a Dana 30 out front with NO hubs. Works everytime!

Only time in 120,000 miles my Titan failed to engage into 4wd is when the front diff tore itself up due to a seal leak that the dealer said they checked. If the sensor allowed the transfercase to engage I would have been looking at a new front axle and new transfercase. Looking at the parts breakdown, the only thing the switch does on my Titan is activate the solenoid that does the same job as a manual lever but inside the transfercase and weather proof. Only time my Titan will not engage 4wd is if the tires are already spinning so you dont snap anything in the drive train when you get traction. As far as the cold, ever try shifting a manual tranny when you first start your vehicle ib below freezing temps? Like molasses. Let your gear warm up.

Is it weird that I've had a hell of a lot less trouble with knob-based 4x4 systems than I ever had with lever based?

@toycrusher84, If there is one thing I've learned is not to trust EPA rating on the sticker. In my last 3 trucks my average has been exactly 2 mpg less than what it says in the city. My current truck is a 5.7L Hemi Quad Cab rated at 14/19. I get 12mpg on about 50/50. Perhaps it's my driving habbits. I also like driving with with windows open.

The fords are nice, but

I would likely average 13 or 14mpg in it.


- longer than midsized suv
- 4 doors
- no midgate
- no big rear window like titan
- no rambox feature right?
.. and what would that truck cost me at Ford? 35k+.. I paid $26k for my Ram Hemi Quad brand new.


Forgot to mention. I think the a lighter , shorter titan with an inline i4 diesel could pull off 24mpg City rating.

A few years ago before the collapse Chevy was workign on Bare Neccessities truck.. it was a brilliant idea of a reversable bulkhead. That truck design with small twin turbo diesel that can put out 300hp and do 25mpg city! Put in some form of brake recovery and it could potentially 30mpg city and still pull 5000lbs.

Just having a 4 cylinder diesel would get a current Titan close to 24mpg. My father in laws 94 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4X4 with the 5.9L Cummins HO and manual tranny got 21-23mpg highway loaded with 2 weeks of camping gear and canoes with 4 adults in it. I was amazed. In a 1/2 ton a 4 cylinder would be perfect. Torque would probably be close to the current ecoboost.


[sigh] Since you already appear to know everything I won't even try to educate you...

I will admit that Toyota has one of the better-designed shifting systems out there. Just like the Big 3's trucks, I'm sure it functions perfectly when new. But here in the real world, sh!t still gets old, it wears out, and then it quits working. The more sh!t there is to break, the more of it that's going to. It's Murphy's law.

Small world...I installed an NP241C in my 1987 Wrangler (along with a warmed-over 6.0L, NV4500, 1350 driveshafts, and re-built Waggy D44s with Ox Lockers.) ...but what the hell do I know?

@Jason H. - the electronic stuff does make me nervous. I've had some manual tranny trucks and t-cases that were damned hard to shift in the cold, but at least I didn't need to worry about burning out a solenoid or motor.

@Keith - let your stuff warm up?
In -45 C or F (doesn't matter which when it's that cold), the only way you can warm your truck up is if it is parked in a heated garage. You get outside, snow sticks, then melts,then everything freezes - like brakes.
An unloaded or lightly loaded truck will struggle to warm up. A winter front helps, but if things get cold enough, no, it ain't happening.
Metal gets brittle in the cold ie. -45. Diesel starts to gel around -35C.
Nasty. You don't see million mile trucks or even 500,000 in my part of the world (unless a guy spends a lot of money doing re and re's.

"As far as the cold, ever try shifting a manual tranny when you first start your vehicle ib below freezing temps? Like molasses. Let your gear warm up."

Sure. Every morning for a good portion of my life.

Manual transmissions (and all transfer cases) don't warm up one iota until the vehicle is actually moving (and has BEEN moving for many, many miles). How is letting the engine sit and idle going to help with shifiting eitther?

Now think of what you're you're asking that little servomotor inside your transfer case to do when it's -40 below F (BEFORE factoring in the windchil). You're asking it to slide a big shift a collar through that mud. I've seen them overload/blow fuses/fusible links for that motor when it gets extremely cold. My right arm has never blown a fuse.

This is of course not to mention all of the electrical connections that inevitably rot out after spending a dozen or so winters with salty snowy slop spraying at them and 90% humidity all summer.

Just because yours still happens to work after 120,000 miles, doesn't mean a whole lot in the greater scheme of things. Hell my My '99 Silverado's Rube Goldberg T-case shifting setup still works fine after 165,000 miles (my brother's 2000 Silverado...not so much).

Even a well-constructed house of cards will still eventually fall over. I'm just saying why build the house of cards if you don't really need to?

@Jason H.

i agree all this computerized stuff they are putting in trucks today is junk and more stuff to go wrong, but the bottem line is this what people want, they all want everything at the push of button

Nissan made all the manufacturers pay attention in 04 when titan came out. They can do it again. A diesel would be a great option. I saw a few statements about reliability issues. I owned 2 of them and put 150k on the last one and spent about 500.00 on repairs the entire time I owned it. I'll take nissan reliability over the other brands every time. Nissan if you are watching, Do a rambox type setup in the next one but make it available on the s model. Poeple who drive SL's don't usually use them as a work truck.

Regular cabs are obsolete! We don't need yet another base model rig.
What we need is a crew cab with a longbed. And they actually already have one. You can get a 7' box on a titan crew cab. That's something Toyota or GM hasn't done. I'd like to see them pick it up a notch and offer an 8' box with a crew cab but I'd be satisfied with 7.

I was actually considering getting a Titan because they're the same size as my first gen Tundra. I think they work a little better on our windy back roads than the big trucks and larger new tundra.

I won't hold my breath on the diesel. The oil industry's got us all by the ballz.

1) Almost all new trucks are autos. Running the engine will warm up the tranny some.

2) Driving the truck if the front axle is not disconnected will get things moving in the transfercase. If it is that cold just leave it in 4wd before you need it to pull out of your driveway.

3) Little invention called a block heater helps if you park outside.

4) Maybe your issues are more a product of location than an engineering weakness. Lets be honest, most people are not starting their trucks up in sub zero temps "every morning".

5) Living in New England I know a little about corrosion. My truck must be immune.

Jason, You are citing extremes. Maybe they should make an Arctic Circle Ram for you to your specs as a package? Most US markets see 4 seasons. Most of which do not turn their trucks into frozen lumps of steel and gelled fluids. I am sure desert climates see opposite trends and would love to shift designs in a different direction than you. Lets be honest. Manufacturers are in a jack of all trades, masters of none position.


You are right. I am citing an extreme example but when it's where you have lived your whole life, it doesn't seem so outlandish.

But I disagree that manufacturers are well served by a "Jack of all Trades" approach... The long and short of it is: a vehicle needs to function the climates wher it will be sold. This is not an impossible task. It just takes some engineering and common sense. Most new vehicles do quite well, even in the ultra-cold weather we get up's the one's that still keep on working AFTER they're new, year after year that separates the good ones from the bad. And in my experience, the one's that generally last are the ones with the fewest things to go wrong.

Just my opinion, but it is a well-informed one. :)


As for your other comments:

"1) Almost all new trucks are autos. Running the engine will warm up the tranny some."

Dude, you SAID manual transmission! And in any case the amount of warming up you're going to get in an auto is negligible as the pump is mechanically driven only while the truck is moving. You'd only get a little warming action by setting it in Drive with the parking brake on, but that would be stupid and dangerous, and anyway, that still leaves the T-case frozen solid until you're moving.

"2) Driving the truck if the front axle is not disconnected will get things moving in the transfercase. If it is that cold just leave it in 4wd before you need it to pull out of your driveway."

So now I have to plan ahead a day? I shouldn't have to! (In reality, I usually put my truck in "Auto 4WD" when I get to the road I live on (which is hard-pack from December to March) and leave it there until I get back out to the main road the next day...but hey, we're speaking theoretically here.)

"3) Little invention called a block heater helps if you park outside."

Tell me about it! Still, a block heater does nothing for the T-case and that's what we were talking about shifting here...

"4) Maybe your issues are more a product of location than an engineering weakness. Lets be honest, most people are not starting their trucks up in sub zero temps "every morning". "

Well, perhaps I DID hyperbolize a bit there, but is a LOT of mornings...Where I live it often stays below zero for a month in the winter in late Jan/Early Feb.

5) Living in New England I know a little about corrosion. My truck must be immune.

Must be!

Its's a Nissan... The poor thing will probably be dated before it even hits showrooms..

In other words... "Baby diesel" or not... I could care less about this piece of Jap garbage.

I doubt the truck with be dated, the truck set a standard in 2004 when it came out, when its so far ahead it can skip a generation of redesign, the truck will just be getting long in the tooth by 2014.

Always good news when the makers talk about improving power train options and packages, but Nissan needs to come thru with the Tradesman concept in a big way to be relevant. And to ALL the makers - stop letting the SUV and Sedan designers any where near the Pickup studios. Pickups are the stones and grit part of the auto business and should always get the utmost respect toward that segment and customer. Everyone else is well covered - but make Pickups what they are intended to be first and last - work horses for men who work.

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