All good things must come to an end.
We’ve written several times that we’re big fans of the Nissan Frontier, the mid-size pickup truck that simply refuses to die. On the market since 2005, the Frontier is still a solid seller for Nissan, even outselling its larger and far newer full-size truck sibling, the Titan. But all good things come to an end.
Autoblog spoke with Nissan senior vice president for global design, Alfonso Albaisa, who confirmed the current Frontier is "almost finished.” This was further established when the automaker’s vice president of product planning, Ivan Espinosa, added that "it is something we are actively working on, and will soon be coming into the market.” Unfortunately, no time frame was given but what’s clear is that the Frontier as we know it won’t be around much longer.
So why has it taken so long for Nissan to not only make progress on a Frontier replacement but to also go on record about it? Because of the resurgence of the mid-size truck segment in the US. Now that the Ford Ranger is back and sales of the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon, and Toyota Tacoma remain strong, Nissan realized it can no longer be competitive with a truck that’s nearly a decade and a half old.
And yet, ironically, Nissan sold nearly 80,000 Frontiers in the US last year alone. Only around 20,000 Titans were sold. However, Toyota sold around 245,000 Tacomas and 135,000 Chevrolet Colorados found new homes. When compared to its direct rivals, it’s clear Nissan has to do something.
Fortunately, Nissan knows how to build excellent trucks, especially small and mid-sizes ones. But the big question is what platform will Nissan use for the next Frontier. Will it make the necessary changes to the overseas-only Navarra, much like Ford did with the Ranger, and bring it stateside? It’s possible but then again the latest Navarra launched in 2014, making it an aging vehicle in today’s newly competitive mid-size truck segment.