Nissan is working on a new strategy for its slow-selling, full-sized Titan pickup: adding less expensive models that appeal to tradesmen and operators of commercial fleets.
The wider product line will include a six-cylinder engine when the redesigned model debuts. Industry sources say that will happen in around 2014. Today there's only one engine offering, a 5.6-liter V-8, and only crew cab and king cab models.
"Today's Titan is a luxury model, and I think it is a dynamite product," says Joe Castelli, vice president, commercial vehicles and fleet, Nissan North America. "But as far as the commercial guy that is going to buy a cargo van, I don't really know if he is considering a Titan because it does not have that work image.
"We don't have a single cab," he says. "We don't have a V-6 engine."
Nissan has struggled with the Titan since the vehicle was introduced in 2003. Its best sales year was 2005, when 86,945 were sold. Through October, Nissan sold 17,462 Titans, down 10 percent from 2010.
Nissan had not planned to redesign the Titan. But in August 2010, Chrysler and Italian partner Fiat scrapped plans to share vehicles with Nissan, including a pickup based on the Dodge Ram. That vehicle had been scheduled to go on sale in 2012.
Castelli says it's tough to ignore the full-sized pickup segment.
"We have to make sure we have a more well-rounded product than what is out there today," he said. "It will be a different Titan. It will be marketed differently, and I think it will be entertaining to a lot of different segments right now that we really don't go after in the pickup world."