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Detroit Is Crushing Nissan's Full-Size Truck Dreams

Truck / 11 Comments

Is there any hope?

The 2016 launch of the current generation Nissan Titan was a big deal with a lot of fanfare. The first-generation Titan was sold in the US from 2003 until 2015 and by the end of its life, its competitors from Detroit were killing it, sales-wise. Its second-gen successor was intended to correct that. Unfortunately for Nissan, this plan of action hasn't been working out so well. But there is hope, though the Titan may not be it.

Automotive News spoke to Nissan's newly appointed North American chairman, Jose Luis Valls, about the carmaker's future US truck strategy and the best hope may be with a certain other truck. "I'm a truck man. But I have my own ideas," Valls said. "I'm more into the one-ton pickup, where Nissan is quite strong globally."

Valls is referring to mid-size trucks and Nissan's own Frontier pickup, despite its age, continues to be a strong-seller in the US. If you recall, last year the Frontier smashed Titan sales in America by nearly 30,000 units. In 2018, the Frontier's sales climbed by 7.1 percent while the Titan's took a 4.7 percent nosedive.

Nissan was so confident about its new Titan that it heavily invested in not only the vehicle itself and its engine varieties but also the Canton, Mississippi factory where it's assembled. Unfortunately, Titan sales have hardly made a dent against its Detroit rivals. Here's another example: Nissan sold only 12,000 Titan in the first four months of this year while FCA sold over 169,000 Ram pickups in that same period.

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While the mid-size Frontier is nearly 15 years old, it still remains one of Nissan's best-sellers, outselling the Versa, Pathfinder, Maxima, Armada, Leaf, and 370Z in 2018. Valls clearly see the writing on the wall. Fortunately, a completely redesigned Frontier is in the works but its reveal date is still unconfirmed.

"I see a lot of opportunities for the new Frontier that we're working on," Valls added. "From there, we can leverage much more truck strength and presence, and use it to support Titan's further growth."