Nissan Learning to Talk Truck With Titan

Nissan wants to overtake the Toyota Tundra in annual sales as it grows the Titan pickup lineup and learns what it takes to be a competitive truck maker.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

February 10, 2017

2 Min Read
Titan king cab last piece of Nissan truck portfolio
Titan king cab last piece of Nissan truck portfolio.

CHICAGO – Nissan remains committed to earning 5% of the U.S. pickup market “in a reasonable amount of time” as the automaker slowly transitions from a predominantly car-driven company to a truck and CUV maker.

Fred Diaz, vice president and general manager-Nissan trucks, says the company is undergoing an “amazing awakening” as it learns how to design, build and market trucks – and the many variants necessary – compared with the more limited portfolios associated with car brands.

At the Chicago Auto Show, Nissan reveals the final cog in its second-generation Titan lineup, the king-cab, work-oriented version of the fullsize truck that goes on sale this spring. Nissan previously told WardsAuto the addition of the king cab would help the automaker pursue its target of 100,000 annual sales of the Titan.

Titan sales rose 80.2% in the U.S. in 2016, WardsAuto data shows, albeit to just 21,880 units in an annual 2 million-vehicle segment.

Nissan has been launching variants of the fullsize pickup since December 2015, when the Titan XD three-quarter-ton crew cab model went on sale. The half-ton model and single-cab body styles of both the XD and half-ton Titan followed last year.

Diaz says the slow, careful rollout of the Titan was necessary to assure the product’s quality and build the brand’s credibility in the market. The marketing chief says awareness of the truck is increasing with 50% of buyers returning Nissan truck owners, with the remainder coming from competitors.

The new king cab will bring in more commercial work truck buyers, Diaz says, noting nearly 80% of current Titan buyers use the truck for personal use with the remainder used in business applications.

Dealer training in how to “talk truck” and steps by 443 of the brand’s 1,100 U.S. dealers to become “business certified” will help grow Titan and commercial-vehicle sales, he says.

Nissan sees overtaking Toyota Tundra in sales as its first objective, with the Titan also serving as a kind of “halo” vehicle increasing awareness of the entire Nissan lineup. Diaz declines to specify a sales objective, but earning 5% of the truck market would translate to about 100,000 sales annually.

“The market feedback is good – we’re creating awareness that we have a new truck,” Diaz says. “It takes time, but we’re getting there.”

Diaz says marketing will focus on telling “lost” messages, such as the Titan’s 5-year, 100,000-mile (161,000-km) warranty, while coming Titan offerings will include special models and factory-installed customization features such as lift kits.

“We’re growing and we’re learning as a company how to do these things,” Diaz says.

[email protected] @bobgritzinger

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About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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