Originally launched in late 2003 as a 2004 model, the Nissan Titan light-duty pickup may not see its replacement until 2014 – a painfully long time in the full-size pickup market, and the Titan is already the oldest half-ton pickup in the segment. Titan sales in 2009 fell 44.1 percent from 2008. However, according to Larry Dominique, Nissan's Vice President of Product Planning, things may be turning around.
Improved traffic in Nissan showrooms, new "value packaging" that bundle popular options together, and an effort by dealers to target existing owners to replace or upgrade their Titans seems to be working. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the Titan sold 5,337 units compared to 4,153 during the same period in 2008. However, Dominique appears to understand that even the most loyal customers eventually lose interest in an outdated vehicles.
In the meantime, Nissan's pickup team will ask headquarters to approve building a heavy-duty Titan. Pushing for development of a light commercial truck (2500- or 3500-series) to increase sales volume will help spread engineering costs across more models. However, it's clear that this process isn't a short road. Once Japanese executives approve the development of a new Titan, the Nissan light-truck still figures to be another two years from production."My team is working on the best overall scenario for doing the next Titan internally," Dominique said. "Given the environment, given the economy and that Nissan's global resources are constrained, we can't do everything we want as fast as we want. We had a plan that was humming along with Chrysler to deliver the truck by 2011 but that deal went away. It's a few years away. We're looking at short term enhancements we can make until 2014."