The saga of the Nissan Titan will come to an end in Canada next year, with the recently refreshed full-size pickup and its tweener XD sibling leaving that market after 2021 as the automaker changes course on a global scale.
Nissan Canada confirmed the discontinuation to TTAC on Thursday, claiming the automaker, as part of its new four-year plan, will focus more closely on its core strengths. Refreshed for 2020, the Titan line has recently seen a decline in the number of build configurations offered, as well as vehicles sold, making the model’s vanishing act a seeming inevitability.
On a cold January morning during the 2015 North American International Auto Show, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn debuted the brand’s all-new pickup truck. It wasn’t a typical full-size, half-ton offering. Rather, it was a “tweener” that sits between the half-ton and three-quarter ton trucks currently on sale. Ghosn made the business case for the truck, stating that nearly 150,000 people every year switch from a half-ton to a three-quarter ton truck or vice versa because there’s no real truck out there to meet their needs. Additionally, the truck would have a 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 engine.
Fast forward to 2020 and things have changed. Sales of the first-generation Titan XD were lackluster at best, and the company has completely discontinued the diesel engine and regular cab options. Ghosn himself was smuggled out of Japan in an instrument case back to Lebanon to avoid the Japanese legal system. But there is a new version of the Titan XD, and Nissan claims things will be different this time.
Hot on the heels of Nissan’s refreshed Titan pickup reveal, the brand’s tweener three-quarter ton Titan XD has received a mid-cycle update of its own. Expect change, but less choice.
There’s good things to be had beyond the obvious changes to Nissan’s “Powerful Warrior” (!) styling and new “double boomerang” LED running lights. For one, there’s a wider-ranging nine-speed automatic in place of the previous model’s seven-speed unit. There’s more power on tap, more tech content, and nervous drivers can rest assured that Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of electronic safeguards will help keep insurance adjusters at bay.
What 2020 Titan XD buyers won’t like is their lack of menu options.
Nissan won’t be extending the same commitment it has for small cars to its full-size pickup line. The automaker recently told U.S. dealers that it would begin scaling back its Titan offerings, partly due to a new Titan looming on the horizon. Nissan intends to unveil the new pickup in the fall. Meanwhile, existing Titan sales could be a lot stronger. The model can’t really compete against domestic brands, despite also being manufactured in the U.S.
The Titan’s annual sales are less than monthly Ford F-Series deliveries. Extrapolated, Nissan moved 50,459 units in 2018 against the pickup sales king’s 909,330. But the Titan even has trouble competing with the likes of the GMC Sierra, which saw 219,554 domestic deliveries last year.
According to Automotive News, Nissan’s evolved pickup strategy focuses on prioritizing what works for the passenger market — which means turnings its back on single-cab models and the Cummins diesel engine available in the Titan XD.
America loves its pickup trucks, evidenced by a segment that’s increased nearly 5 percent compared to the same time last year.
Sure, many trucks across the nation haul nothing but air in their beds, but more than a few actually work for a living. Nissan is attempting to lure both parties into its showrooms by adding a couple of new option packages to its trucks – one for work and one for play.
With so many parents using crew cab pickups as family haulers, it’s gotten to the point where a regular cab full-sizer starts to look weird. Well, Nissan has one on tap that looks weirder.
Nissan will offer a regular cab Titan and Titan XD this fall, part of its plan to flesh out the lineup to three body styles. An extended “King Cab” version will follow the “Single Cab”, which is somewhat jarring when viewed from the side.
Japanese car companies have been trying to break into the American full-sized pickup market for decades. Despite Japanese trucks having a sterling reputation for dependability and reliability internationally, ‘Muricans are a different bunch. Not even Ford’s switch to “European-style” twin-turbo engines and aluminum bodies could stop the freight train that is the F-Series sales chart.
On the opposite end of that sales chart is the last-place Titan. Nissan sold just 12,140 Titans last year, 1/10th of Toyota’s own meager volume and 1/65th of Ford’s truck sales.
Rather than picking up its marbles and going home, Nissan thought outside the box and came up with a novel idea. Why not “right-size” a 3/4 ton truck and sell it for a little more than your average 1/2 ton? With the Detroit Three engaged in serious towing and payload wars, the heavy-duty pickup segment looks more like a Freightliner convention.
That’s where the diesel Titan XD comes in.
Ask people in the know which full-size pickup is arguably the worst new purchase you can make today and you’ll receive a resounding answer: the Titan.
Nissan’s foray into full-size pickups was a breath of fresh air when it debuted for the 2004 model year. But like all merchandise that sits stagnant on retail shelves, it quickly went out of style, became unrefined in comparison to ever-improving competitors, and could only be had with a thirsty V8 during the doldrums of the Great Recession.
It’s this languishing at the low end of the totem pole that must have cajoled Nissan engineers to seriously analyze its truck strategy going forward. Surely, if Nissan was to compete in the pickup game, it would need to update its model at the same pace as everyone else — or, the very least, at the same pace as Toyota. That’s an expensive undertaking considering an all-new model’s development is now priced well into the billions of dollars. And it’s a risky bet to invest that much cash in a segment known for ownership loyalty and domestic domination.
So, Nissan had an idea: hit ’em where they ain’t, and steal a seasoned truck guy to push the new-“class” pickup.
After revealing the kinda, sorta heavy-duty, kinda, sorta light-duty Titan XD at the North American International Auto Show last year, Nissan is looking to continue its pickup truck momentum with a concept that builds upon the new XD’s strengths.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the light-duty Titan we thought would bow in Detroit. Instead, the Titan Warrior Concept is a modified Titan XD that takes the truck to its next logical conclusion — an off-road capable, well-appointed RAM Power Wagon competitor.
Nissan announced Tuesday that its 2016 Titan XD would start at $41,485 (including $1,195 destination) for the S Crew Cab 4×2 model. The top-of-the-line Platinum Reserve Crew Cab 4×4 will start at $61,715.
The pricing places the diesel-powered Titan XD firmly in the middle between the Big Three’s light-duty and heavy-duty trucks. For example, Ram’s 1500 Tradesman Crew Cab 4×2 with its 3-liter diesel engine costs $36,940, according to Ram. A heavy-duty 2500 Ram Limited 4×4 with a 6.7-liter diesel engine starts at $64,215.
The Nissan Titan XD is a heat-seeking missile aimed in between truckmakers’ light- and heavy-duty offerings, apparently.
Nissan announced Tuesday that its new Titan and Titan XD pickups will be powered by an all-new 5.6-liter V-8 that makes 390 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The new V-8 replaces the aging mill that produced 317 hp and 385 pound-feet of torque.
According to Nissan, the new V-8 — dubbed Endurance — will be built at the automaker’s Decherd, Tennessee powertrain assembly that produces all powertrains for vehicles assembled in the U.S.
(Apparently, Nissan’s announcement broke the automaker’s press site. The site went down shortly after the announcement.)
The North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year finalists were announced Tuesday and clearly the jurors read our September handicap — and completely mostly disregarded our odds.
According to jurors, the finalists for 2016 North American Car of the Year are the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Malibu and Mazda MX-5 Miata. The finalists for the 2016 Truck/Utility of the Year are the Volvo XC90, Nissan Titan XD and Honda Pilot. The winners will be announced at the North American International Auto Show in January.
Let’s review the finalists and definitively state in each capsule why that car will absolutely win:
The Texas Auto Writers Association said Tuesday that the new, diesel-powered Nissan Titan XD was the 2015 Texas Truck of the Year and the Ford F-Series won Truck Line of Texas, alongside 22 other awards in a bi-annual affair held on non-consecutive Sundays until an eventual winner is crowned after a round-robin, double-elimination playoff.
The award for the Titan XD is the first for the truck, which will go on sale in December. Texas auto writers awarded the Ram 2500 with best heavy-duty pickup, Ram 1500 Rebel as the best full-size pickup and the new Toyota Tacoma as the best mid-size pickup.
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