DETROIT -- With three engines -- including a Cummins diesel V-8 -- two frame sizes and three bed lengths, the redesigned Titan coming this fall is Nissan Motor Corp.’s ambitious new push to become a true contender in the tough full-size pickup market.
The revamped pickup, unveiled today at the Detroit auto show, is intended to make the Titan appealing to a wider audience, from construction workers to suburbanites.
Nissan, only the second Japanese automaker to field a big truck after Toyota, sold fewer than 13,000 Titans last year, and faces a wave of revamped and improved competitors from the Detroit 3. Ford Motor Co., General Motors and FCA have long dominated the segment and show no signs of giving up any ground or their loyal owners.
U.S. sales of large pickups rose 8 percent in 2014 to 2.07 million.
Despite CEO Carlos Ghosn’s grand plans to break into the segment in late 2003, the Titan has underperformed since then. Nissan captured less then 1 percent of the U.S. market for full-size pickups last year.
The 2016 Titan will be the nameplate’s first redesign as Ghosn presses the automaker to boost U.S. market share across the board.
The pickup will come in two sizes -- the Titan and the Titan XD. The Titan XD Crew Cab, which will be the first to reach the market late this year, will have a 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins diesel engine that produces 310 hp at 3,200 rpm and 555 pounds-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm.
The configuration will also carry a heavy-duty six-speed Aisin automatic transmission, and have available electronic locking rear differential.
It will claim more than 2,000 pounds of maximum payload capacity, and more than 12,000 pounds of maximum towing capacity.
The truck will straddle two segments -- light duty and heavy duty. Nissan believes 150,000 U.S. buyers every year could go either way on purchasing a heavy-duty or a smaller pickup.
“Every year a set of customers has to make a compromise. They buy a truck with more capability than they need,” said Phil O’Connor, the Titan’s chief marketing manager. “Now they no longer have to make that compromise.”
Certain versions of the diesel-equipped Titan XD will come in at more than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight, putting the pickup in direct competition with the Ram 2500, Ford’s F-250 and the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD.