The hook here is that the Tennessee Titans NFL franchise is wooing the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback and likely future NFL Hall of Famer, with owner Bud Adams offering Manning a lifetime contract, according to ESPN. Nissan, of course, relocated its North American operations to Tennessee in 2006. Manning also has roots in the state, as he attended the University of Tennessee, where he was the Volunteers' all-time leading passer.
We suspect Manning has better things to do right now than help Nissan stage a further publicity stunt, given that he's spent the past week working out for two other NFL teams in addition to Tennessee. That's not stopping the PR team at Nissan from suggesting that Peyton might want a Titan, the slowest-selling full-size pickup in America, because it's built in Canton. That's Canton, Mississippi, rather than Canton, Ohio, where the NFL Hall of Fame is located.
And lest anyone get all up-in-arms over Nissan's homer-ism, the company has said it will give Manning the truck regardless of which team he signs with "as a gesture of gratitude recognizing your great accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to our national community." Click past the jump to read the full press release.
*UPDATE: If a slew of reports are to be believed, it appears Mr. Manning is headed the Denver Broncos. As some readers have noted in Comments, we, too, hope that Ford takes this opportunity to build Peyton – and the rest of us – a new Bronco.
As fans all over the country speculate on whether future Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will sign with Tennessee, Denver, or some other team, Nissan North America has just sweetened the deal by offering to "... make Manning a Titan."
But in this case, the automaker, which is based in Franklin, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville, where the Tennessee NFL franchise plays, is offering to "make," or rather, "build" Manning a 2012 Nissan Titan Pro-4X pickup truck.
On its website and Facebook page, Nissan extended the offer in an open letter to Manning. In an effort to remain neutral, Nissan indicates it will make Manning a Titan regardless of the NFL team he chooses.
Tennessee has been the corporate headquarters for Nissan's operations covering all of North, Central and South America since 2006 when the company moved to Nashville from California. The company, now based 15 minutes south in the suburb of Franklin, Tenn., is one of the state's largest employers. Nissan operates technical and design centers in California, Arizona and Michigan, two assembly plants and one powertrain plant in Tennessee, as well as a third assembly plant in Canton, Miss.
"The Nissan Titan V-8 engine is built in Tennessee," said Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America. "And even more poetically for Mr. Manning, the Titan itself is assembled in a place called Canton."
Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee. He is expected to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee when he becomes eligible after retirement. The NFL Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio.
An Open Letter to Peyton Manning
We hope it's okay to be informal and call you Peyton. You've been like one of the family to sports fans, especially Tennesseans, since your record-setting college days at the University of Tennessee.
Like you, we at Nissan North America were not all born to Rocky Top. But it is now home to our corporate headquarters and three manufacturing facilities employing more than 6,000 Tennesseans.
At Nissan, we too have fans all over the U.S.A. and we appreciate them all. And like all of your fans, we're awaiting your decision on where to play next season. While we are in no position to sign you to any particular NFL franchise, we at Nissan North America want to make you a Titan – a 2012 Nissan Titan – as a gesture of gratitude recognizing your great accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to our national community.
We extend this offer on behalf of a nation of football fans and Nissan fans, not necessarily to influence your decision. So next time you're in Nashville, give us a call and we'll bring the keys.
Nissan North America
About the Nissan Titan
Innovation that's tough, including the first-in-class Utili-track™ cargo carrying system, available durable spray-in bedliner, lockable bedside storage compartment, Wide-Open rear doors (King Cab), and the longest Crew Cab bed in class. That's the hallmark of the 2012 Nissan Titan full-size pickup, which stands as a rugged, reliable, spirited choice for active truck buyers seeking style and excellent value. Titan is a truck designed to get the job done, whether that job entails hauling cargo, a trailer or just family and friends.
For 2012, Titan offers a range of body, bed and drivetrain configurations to fit a range of buyer needs and uses: King Cab and Crew Cab body styles, a choice of 4x4 and 4x2 drive configurations, two wheelbases (138.9 inches and 159.5 inches), three bed lengths, and four well-equipped trim levels – S, SV, PRO-4X and SL. Titan is also available as a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) designed to run on E85 Ethanol.
Titan is built on Nissan's rugged F-Alpha pickup platform, featuring a powerful 5.6-liter DOHC Endurance V8 rated at 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft torque and a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. Titan has a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,500 pounds for King Cab and 9,400 pounds for Crew Cab (when properly equipped).
About Nissan North America
In the Americas, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and was recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 and 2011. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4 million vehicles in 2010. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to Sustainable Mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.