Exclusive: Nissan Sees "Opportunity" To Fight Ford F-150 Raptor

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Who wouldn't want to see this happen?

(Update: A previous version of this story suggested that Nissan was indeed preparing an F-150 Raptor rival. The story has been amended to reflect that Nissan sees "opportunity" to do more than the Titan Pro4X available today.)

A turnaround plan is already in the works at Nissan and, hopefully, we'll be seeing results soon. For example, the all-new Nissan Sentra debuted late last November, previewing what will be the first of several new vehicles. But perhaps more importantly, pickup trucks will also play a significant role. And from the sounds of it, Nissan apparently now wants to target the best factory-built off-road truck on the market, the Ford F-150 Raptor.

CarBuzz spoke to Tiago Castro, Nissan's director of light commercial vehicles for North America, last week at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show and he hinted that the company sees opportunity for the Nissan Titan to fight the Ford F-150 Raptor.

"There's an opportunity to do a bit more (than Pro4X)," he said. But with the new trim level freshly introduced, it makes sense that Castro added that "at this point, we're focusing on Pro4X."

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The Titan Pro4X trim, powered by the same 5.6-liter V8 found in the rest of the current Titan lineup, adds a number of off-road features such as Bilstein mono-tube off-road shocks, Hill Descent Control, and an electronic locking rear differential. Compared to the F-150 Raptor, there's clearly room to add more kit. There isn't much more detail on the record, but given the phenomenal success Ford has had with the F-150 Raptor, it makes sense for Nissan to join the fray.

Castro also emphasized that most Titan customers are not full-size truck buyers.

"Most buyers come from other segments. They're new to the [full-size truck] segment," he said. "That's why we have so much content standard. The minimum screen size is eight inches, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, 400 horsepower is standard. We saw that need to focus because so many customers are coming in from other segments that have implemented a lot of technology. Customers are expecting that."

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Nissan also added 60 percent more accessories to the Titan's portfolio. Castro also mentioned that Nissan has been partnering with outside companies so that they can sell components of their own on the aftermarket.

"It's a key part of the strategy," he said. "We have upfitters like Rocky Ridge that work with the Titan. The lift them, put new tires, and it looks great."

It should also be noted that many Ford Raptor buyers were not only new to the full-size truck segment but were new to trucks in general. Some Raptor customers opted to forgo their typical luxury SUVs for a nearly $60,000 hardcore off-road truck for one simple reason: the cool factor.

Cool sells and Nissan has taken note. So has Ram, which will soon launch its own Raptor fighter, the Hellcat-powered Ram TRX.

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