- The redesigned 2015 Nissan Titan intends to be more of a serious competitor to the Ford F-150, with a wider model range and engine choices.
- The 2015 Nissan Titan is being engineered for a wider group of buyers.
- Poor sales have prompted Nissan to expand the model and engine offerings.
In fact, one vice president for Nissan North America is optimistically predicting a 460 percent boost in sales for the redesigned pickup.
"Reaching 100,000 is certainly possible," said Pierre Loing, vice president of product and advanced planning and strategy for Nissan North America, Inc., in an interview with Edmunds. "We believe there might be a recipe to grab some of this huge segment."
The full-size pickup market is the most profitable segment for the Detroit 3. Sales last year combined for Chevrolet, Ford, Ram, Toyota and Nissan reached about 1.6 million units, which is why Nissan is taking another shot at the market.
The Nissan Titan has struggled since sales began in 2003. After reaching nearly 87,000 sales in 2005, its best year, sales dramatically dropped. Last year, Nissan sold only 21,576 Titans. By comparison, the Ford F-Series pickup has been the No. 1 selling vehicle for decades, totaling 645,316 sales in 2012.
Loing said Titan sales suffered because the model line wasn't extensive enough to attract a wide range of light-duty pickup buyers. For example, only one engine, a V8, has been available since its introduction. Engine choices will be available on the redesigned pickup. He did not say how many.
The line also has been limited to two models, an extended cab and a crew cab. A regular cab is planned.
The pricing structure will be changed as well. Today's Titan is more of a premium lifestyle pickup, aimed at the weekend boater pulling a trailer, for example. Lower-priced models are planned for the redesign.
Today, "the plumber, the carpenter wouldn't buy a Titan. We want to attract some of those people" with the redesigned pickup, Loing said.
Although he did not mention Nissan's goal, fuel economy is a key element of the redesign. Materials to reduce weight and such technology as cylinder deactivation will be utilized.
Loing admits that even with a redesigned pickup that appeals to more buyers, it will be difficult to grab the attention of pickup intenders.
"It is domestic driven," he said. "High loyalty to domestic products. So the question is, 'Why bother?' It is still a huge segment. Whether it is through build quality, equipment, some price advantage, you name it, it may work. We will try again."
Edmunds says: Nissan has done its homework and will be a more credible pickup competitor.