"We've concentrated on only those markets at first," said Christian Meunier, Nissan North America's senior vice president of sales & marketing and operations. "And once we're satisfied that we're where we want to be in those markets, we will then move to our second phase."
That second phase will be six more markets, which the company declined to identify.
For Nissan, satisfaction translates to capturing about 5 percent of the local share of full-size pickup sales. Meunier says the company has nearly reached that level in its initial launch cities.
Once happy with the results in the early markets, Nissan will move to a third phase of 40 markets, going national only after the Titan is established in the individual cities.
Dealers in other cities have been able to get Titans ahead of the step-by-step schedule if they want them, but Nissan's marketing push is focused only on its target cities for now.
"It's a bit different, but we needed to do it this way," Meunier told Automotive News.
There's plenty different about Nissan's foray into large pickups. For starters, it is meddling with primal forces to challenge the Detroit 3 in the segment. The Detroit 3 have the resources -- money, factory capacity, marketing know-how and the will -- to crush a new full-size competitor if they choose.
Pickups are the bread and butter of U.S. automakers, and their customers are fiercely loyal. It's hard enough for Chevrolet to win over a Ford pickup customer, or vice versa. So for Nissan to climb into that fight requires the Japanese brand to move slowly and cautiously.