NASHVILLE -- Nissan is reducing the option variations on all vehicles in a bid to lower manufacturing costs and make life simpler for shoppers.
The plan has been quietly under way since last year and is being rolled out as new models come to market.
The 2011 full-sized Titan pickup will be available in 40 variations, compared with 143 possible variations last year, said Larry Dominique, vice president of planning for the Americas at Nissan North America Inc.
The current Murano crossover can be ordered in 24 packages, compared with 60 two years ago. The Altima sedan, the brand's highest-selling model, now can be ordered 12 ways, down from 18 variations in the past.
The options exclude vehicle color and concentrate on body, powertrain and component combinations.
"By limiting the number of options, we bring down our own costs," Dominique said here at company headquarters. "We avoid producing vehicle content packages that are more difficult to sell, that become lot rocks."
Jon Brancheau, vice president of Nissan brand marketing, said the reduced complexity simplifies the experience of configuring a vehicle model online and in some cases can prevent wasted effort.
"We don't want a customer to configure a model online and order it, only to discover that only three or four versions of that configuration were made and they're all on the other side of the country," Brancheau said.
Nissan also is adopting a new universal model nomenclature. All Nissan vehicles will use S, SV and SL names for their trim levels, Dominique said.
He said some exceptions will remain for now, such as the Sentra SE-R and Murano LE.