LOS ANGELES -- Thousands of Nissan sales and service personnel are going to school to learn how to handle a full-sized SUV and a full-sized pickup.
Nissan's Pathfinder Armada SUV goes on sale Sept. 29, and the Titan pickup arrives Dec. 1.
The company is finishing a training program for 1,600 designated "truck managers" at 1,100 U.S. dealerships. They'll go through a refresher course in September.
Also in September, training for 6,000 people at 600 dealerships will focus on the Pathfinder Armada. The program will include demonstration drives of competitive products.
In October, launch training begins for the Titan in 25 major markets. The full-day sessions will include about 8,000 sales and service people. This program will be repeated in March for 4,000 people.
Nissan is picking up the tab.
"It's the most expensive training program we have ever done," says Jed Connelly, Nissan North America senior vice president of sales and marketing.
The training will provide information about the truck market and truck customers in general and on the ways that the Nissan trucks differ from those of the competition.
Connelly says more than half of Nissan dealers sell full-sized trucks either at other stores or on their used-vehicle lots, so "they're pretty much prepared."
Allocation will be based on two criteria: Regions will get the trucks based on total full-sized truck sales and on Nissan Frontier compact pickup sales. Dealers will get products based solely on Frontier sales.