By on September 13, 2017

Nissan Mexico NP300 "New Frontier" - Image: nissan“The dedicated employees here in Canton look forward to building
the next generation of one of the best pickup trucks in America.”
– Steve Marsh, VP Manufacturing, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant

Nissan has announced that a next-generation Nissan Frontier will be built in Canton, Mississippi, the same plant that’s been building the nearly 13-year-old second-gen Frontier since 2012.

But the platform on which the next Frontier will be based? And the precise timing of the unveiling and on-sale date?

Still unknown.

2017 Nissan Frontier Pro4X - Image: NissanThe 2018 Nissan Frontier continues as the same F-Alpha midsize pickup truck that’s been on sale in America since the 2005 model year. That truck’s global replacement — known in many markets as the Navara — was unveiled three years ago as a truck that has not been sold north of Mexico.

Could the next Mississippi-built Nissan Frontier simply be the Navara-come-to-America? Is Nissan simply going to thoroughly revamp the Frontier to modestly modernize the truck while keeping it affordable? As Ford launches the global Ranger in North America in 2019 and pickups as varied as the GMC Canyon Denali and Honda Ridgeline grow ever more costly, an affordable Nissan would surely have a place in the market.

These questions weren’t answered by Nissan’s September 12th announcement. The announcement revealed Nissan’s decision to remain in Mississippi with the former Tennessee-built truck, pleasure voiced by Mississippi’s governor, and the previously quoted Mississippi plant boss, who called the Frontier “a leader in its class.”Nissan Frontier production line Canton Mississippi - Image: NissanNissan employs 6,400 people at its Mississippi facility. The Frontier isn’t the only body-on-frame Nissan built in Canton. The Titan, Titan XD, and NV vans are built there, as well, along with the Murano crossover. Nissan’s Canton production is down 15 percent so far this year, a decline largely traced back to lower Frontier volume, according to Automotive News Data Center.

As Nissan chased a section of the truck market that couldn’t buy a Titan in the middle of 2016 — the full-size Titan was in between models — Frontier sales shot up to a 15-year annual high of 86,926 sales last year.

But Frontier sales are sliding fast in 2017. Through the first two-thirds of this year, Frontier sales are down 19 percent, and its share of America’s small/midsize pickup truck market has fallen from 21 percent at this stage of 2016 to 17 percent this year.

It’s reasonable to surmise, if not firmly conclude, that Nissan now sees enough midsize pickup demand to justify the domestic production of the Navara as the next-gen Frontier. That could have an impact on the potential arrival of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in America, as well. The X-Class is essentially an altered twin of the Navara. Yet with no American pickup truck production, Mercedes-Benz would be forced to pay a 25-percent chicken tax tariff on every imported X-Class.

Nissan last revealed a new Frontier at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Is January 2018 to soon to expect the unveiling of the first new Frontier since George W. Bush’s first term?

[Images: Nissan]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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17 Comments on “There Will Be a New Nissan Frontier, and It Will Be Built In Canton, Mississippi...”

  • avatar

    Why’s the headline photo labeled as Frontier, when it’s a Navara?

  • avatar

    I hope it doesn’t look like that. I hate the global midsize style. Colorado and Canyon look like a cat in heat, with the but up in the air and the front all shrugged down into the shoulders. At lease the fullsizers sill have proper styling with parallel beltlines and the like.

    If the current Frontier had decent thrones I would have bought one by now. Love the squared of aesthetic, tidy dimensions, stout V6.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, the Frontier’s outdatedness also gave it the most purposeful chiseled looks, and the lustiest, torquiest motor of the lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      The US Colorado and Canyon are not global in style, they are US.

      • 0 avatar


        The current NA market Colorado and Canyon have the curved bed cut, sweeping/rising beltline and boxline, and overall awkward proportions I attribute to Global midsizers such as this Mitsubishi. They look far more like other midsizers not available here, then they do their full size brethren. What would you call it.

        The first gen had much better aesthetics much in the way the current NA Frontier and Tacoma do.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It is probable the US version will be based on the narrow D23 platform.

    Nissan will want to look at cost closely to undercut. So it would make sense to base the US variant on the narrow body D23. It will be “Americanised” I would assume as this was designed for developing nations.

    As for the engine. Nissan has done considerable work with Cummins with the ISF 2.8 diesel. If that is the case the engine could possibly come from China’s Cummins Beijing factory. Cummins and Nissan were given a grant by the EPA to develop the ISF engine for use in US vehicles. Nissan used this engine in a Titan and a Frontier for testing.

  • avatar

    It’s so obvious. The next Frontier and US market X-class Mercedes will share the same Navara platform, by 2019 and roll down the same US assembly line, nose to butt, same engine/drivetrain choices.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      That was my thought. Globally the engine choices matter but here, to capture the market they want it need only have the largest 3 pointed star they can fit on the grill. The limited volume and limited work such a truck will see in the US mean it will need to be as close to the Frontier as possible. The global Mills aren’t federalized and the Mercedes engines accessable in the USDM would likely make it too costly to compete. I believe the Navarra was designed with the USDM in mind so I really doubt they will start over on a different platform.

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