2016 Titan Needs to Make a Splash to Survive
We’ve known since earlier in the year that Nissan intends to reveal the 2016 Titan at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. While we’ve been hoping that this would mean a dynamic new look, improved powertrains (Cummins turbodiesel, please), and a number of upmarket enhancements to keep the Titan competitive, our cynical sides have been guessing that this “new” truck would inevitably wind up being a previous-gen model with a new grille and some different headlights.
As James Healey of Freep points out, Nissan cannot afford to simply slap a new face on the same old truck if it wants to compete with the F-150s, Silverados, and Rams of the world. In fact, he surmises that Nissan’s effort to overhaul the Titan in order to grab a better pickup market share may be “four years late.”
Nissan only sells about 1,000 Titan trucks a month, which is chicken feed compared to Ford’s 60k/month spread with the F-150. This is due in large part to the fact that the competition has gotten better tech, improved efficiency, and more power while also becoming more appealing to the eye. Meanwhile, the Titan looks like a decade-old truck, and it has the pedestrian fuel economy figures (13 mpg city/18 mpg highway) to support that assertion. If Nissan wants to get a better seat at the table, it’ll need to make a big splash.
So what can Nissan do with the new 2016 Titan? The addition of a Cummins turbodiesel powertrain, which has been teased in recent weeks, would be a huge step in the right direction. But would even that be enough to bring monthly sales of Titan over the five digit mark?
If not, what would it take? Aluminum body panels? Hybrid powertrain options? Fuel cell capabilities? A 700 horsepower NISMO version? If Nissan wants to be number one, it first needs to find a selling point that will make it better than number five. V-motion grilles and boomerang headlamps aren’t going to cut it this time.