Nissan Targets Titan for Select Markets


Have you seen many Nissan Titan pickup trucks on the road or Titan commercials on TV? Neither have we. But it looks like that's all part of Nissan's strategy to infiltrate the Detroit-dominating big-truck pickup segment.

According to Automotive News (subscription required), Nissan is targeting its efforts like a laser beam, focusing on four key truck markets in the first phase before it rolls out across the rest of the U.S. Those key markets are Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. If Nissan gets the results it's looking for there, then it'll move on to phases two and three in other markets.

As odd as this strategy might sound, there is logic to it. To begin with, the Titans are built at the Canton, Miss., production plant where five other vehicles are produced, so supply is automatically constrained. As to the marketing budget, fewer markets means fewer dollars spent. Finally, this extra-slow rollout strategy allows more dealers — the vast majority of which have never sold full-size pickups with any success — more time to get smarter about Nissan's two-full-size-truck approach in a market dominated by Ford, Chevrolet and Ram.

This more organic approach seems to be paying dividends: Titans are now selling around a combined 4,000 units per month, when last year they were selling around 1,000. There's no doubt that the heavier-duty Titan XD (with a class-exclusive, downsized Cummins turbo-diesel engine) is helping gain exposure for the new trucks. And for the first time, Nissan is offering a full line of cab configurations — single, King and crew cabs. photos by Evan Sears






IDK what Nissan is doing with the Titan. It targeted a tiny niche with the XD. In doing so it got the XD BIG press but all the tests proved it had limited value in that for a bit more money you get a lot more truck with a real 3/4 ton and for a bit less you get almost as much in modern half tons. So far the Titan and Tundra has only really penetrated the market/served as viable alternatives for those who actually are willing to leave their big 3 minus 1 manufacturers that have done them wrong. And there are lots of people that have been done wrong through the decades by them but all too often like battered spouses they come back for more giving 2nd and 3rd chances rather than leave. So now you have 2 full size imports fighting for the scraps of the big 3 and people who occasionally tow a medium sized load but want a truck that rides a little better than a 3/4. If you care enough about the ride to spend that much money on it leave the truck home and drive the range rover the other 29 days a month. Japanese manufacturers often favor long term gradual strategies over quick buck schemes. They will lose money for decades (like the Titan Tundra and even Prius) patiently doing market penetration and reputation building gradually waiting for the inevitable market condidtions that will make them more attractive (typically recession/fuel price increases). One only has to give automotive history a cursory glance to see this from their invasion, to the fuel crisis to every fuel hike and recession. When times are good they float on a raft small cars sold at a modest profit. When times are bad they float on a raft of small cars sold for a modest profit. Nissan and Toy currently lose money on the titan and tundra and are fine with that. Big 3 minus 1 arrogance, and short term planning has always furthered the Japanese success. Their failure then succession of the small car market makes them ENTIRELY dependent on big/cool/expensive vehicles whose sales slump with every fuel price hike and dip in the economy. Its a marathon through good and bad times... not a sprint from one good time to another. Until the big 3 minus 1 realize this there will be more bailouts, sell offs, and failures. Its just a matter of time.

@Clint--Agree, I don't think Detroit has learned and there will be another Government intervention whether it is a bailout or a forced merger with a competitor or both. Part of this is not just Detroit but to cheaper more stable energy which has encouraged increased sales of trucks, crossovers, and suvs. Also the continued decreased sales of sedans due to coupe like styling giving less headroom and legroom and the rush toward turbo 4s by manufacturers in more of their cars with the phase out of V-6s. More manufacturers like FCA will either discontinue midsize and compact cars or reduce the production of them due to lagging sales. I wouldn't just blamed Detroit, but consumers, and EPA regulations requiring more efficiency.

I see a number of new Titans in my area. One is the XD with a 6 inch lift,looks pretty good...

see several here in WV area. Look sharp in person I think. hate some pics of them.

Wow. What a whopper told by Christian Meunier, Nissan North America's senior vice president of sales & marketing and operations.

Check what they said back in 2015. They said the 2016 Titan would capture more than 5% and 5% was the minimum for even investing in the truck in the first place and they were very bullish and said their sales goal may be too low.

Flashback to 2015 AutoNews: Big sales goal for new Titan may be low, Nissan's Munoz says

“I would say ‘more than 5 percent,’” clarified Munoz, chairman of Nissan North America. “Five percent is the basis for our investment. Less than that would be considered by us as not very successful. Anything more than that would be good.”

"“I would say this a modest aspiration,” Munoz told the audience.

Nissan sold fewer than 13,000 Titans last year, even as the pickup truck market expanded as the economy grew and, in part, because of falling gas prices. A 5 percent share of the 2014 full-size pickup market would translate to about 120,000 sales."


In 2016 they sold 21,880. In 2017 even if they sell 4k a month that's nowhere near their goals. Now they are backpeddling. Last I check I have seen it marketed in my area and I am not in one of those 4 areas. Titan was a flop.

In Metro Detroit, I have seen ONE Titan XD on the road. The big dealer in town has two (!) in stock- S trim crew diesels (odd). Go out of town a little ways, and you find a few more in inventory, but nothing on the road.
@Clint- I'm not convinced Toyota is losing money on the Tundra. The plant is running at capacity, and the platform has had 10 years to amortize. I haven't seen huge rebates either. Most of the units sold are 4-door, TDD grade or higher.

I addded up all of the full-size truck sales for the year and Titan has this much of the market.

11,295 Nissan Trucks sold / 537,272 full-size trucks sold = .021 x 100 = 2.1% of the market.

Nissan needs to TRIPLE sales to get to the low end of what they originally said would be good sales (over 5%). And it will probably have to be more than that if more full-size trucks sell in 2017 compared to 2014.

Good luck with that. If you haven't done it 2 years in what makes you think you'll do it as the Titan gets older and older and others came up better trucks that are already better than the Titan.

Full-Size Truck Mark Share through March 2017:

Ford: 38.2%
Chevy: 23.9%
Ram: 22.1%
GMC: 9.2%
Toyota: 4.3%
Nissan: 2.1%

2% seems about right for Nissan, about half of Toyota.

Nissan got too carried away with the market share goal.

Know your role!

The XD was a dumb idea. Why not make a 3/4 ton and call it a day?
A "light" 3/4 ton would sell better than a "heavy" 1/2. Ford used to offer a light and heavy duty 3/4 ton. It worked rather well.

Give it a facelift to get rid of the headlights that stick out wider then the rest of the truck and then pump up the power on the Cummins, add a floating axle to increase payload on the XD and then offer some other items like say a SUNROOF.

@amateur hour- As much as I actually like the idea of a heavy-half truck, the XD just doesn't work the way it needs to. The Diesel might have lots of potential, but its gotten lambasted in terms of trans tuning and performance. the gas V8 seems like a solid value, works well and delivers pretty decent fuel economy. It also doesn't do anything special. The XD, especially in Crew cab form is just like the GM 1500HD was- mostly a 3/4 ton truck, slightly lighter front suspension parts (shared with the Suburban 2500) and a rear semi-floater axle. But even those trucks had considerably more payload than the XD. The XD shares its chassis with the Nissan NV 15-3500 vans, which come with a 9900# GVW (and 8lug axles, but that isn't actually the limitation)That GVW bump would give the XD the same payload as the rest of the 3/4 ton segment, while still delivering a nicer ride out front. There has to be a good reason why they dropped the GVW. In the shoot-out, the Titan's braking was affected the most by load. I wouldn't be surprised if braking reliability/performance run out if you push these trucks to 9900#.

@ Mr Knowitall - agreed. Well said.

Nice to see good comments on this site.

I have seen a few XD's and Half Ton Titans now showing up in my areas.

Still better then any Ford you'll every buy! Go Nissan!

i have one xd desil what a great truck . great on fuel and comfortable ride

But did you tow with it and how did it do?

I'm not buying that nonsense excuse. At the initial rollout Nissan planned to take over marketshare and that biz plan fell on it's face. Nissan only has itself to blame. It's a niche design with marginal performance and questionable looks.

With limited resources, Nissan is forced to target pickup friendly areas but unfortunately they need to spend a lot to saturate the airways while also heavily discounting Titans. Not a good recipe!

I work for a dealer group, Nissan being one of them, and the Titan xd diesels do not sell well at all. 5 of the 8 we have sold since launch have been traded back in for gas xd's or gas half ton Titans. They are possibly one of the worst vehicles to have on your lot as a used vehicle because they sit for very long periods of time and most of the time we lose a substantial amount of money just to get rid of them. We sell Rams at probably a 100:1 ratio compared to the Titans. The titans are big and bulky and feel very sluggish especially in comparison to the big 3 diesels. In terms of sluggishness it reminds me of the 6.5 turbo diesel in a mid to late 90's GM. The Titans are way over priced and sell so poorly you can at almost time get get $5000-$15,000 off sticker on this niche market failure.

Nissan should outsource a 3.0-3.5 diesel from Renault or partner Mercedes-Benz. The 5.0 V8 Cummins is heavy and thirsty, for the capacities the XD had. The XD would sell better if it's capacities were more like a 3/4 ton diesel truck. At 12.000 lbs it's only marginally better than a light duty with a huge jump in price.

Nobody else knows what they are doing! We mistakenly perceive the competition to produce cowboy trucks! Let's give it a hippo face and detail it to resemble our car line family face from a decade ago! We will get at least 5% market share!

Wait, we will have volume when our single cabs are out.

Wait, we will have volume when our half ton is out.

Scratch all of that. We are having a slow roll out.

This will be the last Titan unfortunately due to this fiasco.

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