* Titan has not been redesigned since it was introduced in
* Titan's share of U.S. pickup truck market only 1.1 percent
* All of Titan's competitors are newer
DETROIT, Feb 6 Nissan Motor Co's U.S.
arm is preparing to expand its lineup of full-size pickup trucks
as it replaces the aged Titan, which has not been significantly
refreshed since it was introduced in 2003, the company said on
Engineers and designers are leaving "nothing off the table"
in delivering a competitive truck to U.S. consumers, said Pierre
Loing, Nissan North America chief for product planning and
marketing strategy. He would not say when it would be
However, a source familiar with the company's thinking said
the next-generation Titan is slated to debut in April 2014 as a
Loing said Nissan wants to regain a market share of between
5 percent to 7 percent of the U.S. full-size pickup truck
market, which it had in Titan's early years. Nissan's share of
that market last year was 1.1 percent.
The segment accounts for 1.7 million annual sales, said
Loing, and is dominated by the three Detroit-based automakers,
led by Ford Motor Co, followed by General Motors Co
and Chrysler Group.
Titan sales were nearly 100,000 a year after it was
introduced. But sales fell as the truck got older and its
competitors issued new offerings with enhanced features.
Last year, Nissan sold 21,576 Titans in the U.S. market,
down 2 percent from 2011.
The three U.S. full-size pickup truck manufacturers and
Toyota Motor Corp all have much-fresher options for
consumers and business buyers.
Pickup truck market leader Ford's F-series sold 645,316
units last year. Ford teased its next-generation model last
month at the Detroit auto show. The new F-series, led by the
F-150 pickup, goes on sale early next year as a 2014 model.
Chrysler Group's Ram Truck introduced a redesigned Ram 1500
pickup truck last fall for the 2013 model year.
Redesigned versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC
Sierra from General Motors will be introduced in late spring as
Toyota is introducing a new version of its full-size pickup
Tundra on Thursday at the Chicago auto show. It will be a 2014
model when it goes on sale later this year.
Nissan now makes four-door crew-cab and king-cab versions of
the Titan, both of which are equipped with a V8 engine, said
Loing. "There's a lot of space for us to increase our coverage"
of the broader pickup market, he said in an interview.
Loing said Nissan may make a V6 version of the full-sized
Larry Dominique, president of automotive consulting firm
ALG, said that while U.S. pickup truck owners are fiercely loyal
to their brand, Nissan has an opportunity to convince younger
truck buyers to try a Titan once the redesigned version is
available. Dominique, who until 15 months ago headed Nissan's
product development and led the team that created the original
Titan, said he thinks Nissan will offer a two-door regular cab
Titan in addition to the king cab and crew cab it has now.
Nissan would not say whether the Titan will remain on the
same platform it shares with the Armada full-size SUV and the
Frontier mid-size pickup truck.
Loing said that Nissan in recent years has made a priority
of developing newer versions of its higher-selling sedans,
including the Altima, Sentra and Versa, as well as the Rogue
compact crossover, rather than redesign the Titan. As a result,
it is one of the oldest designs in the full-size truck segment.
Dominique said another reason it has taken so long for
Nissan to introduce a new pickup truck is that the company had
been working with Chrysler to develop a truck based on the
full-size Ram platform, but that effort died when Chrysler
underwent the financial strains that led to its 2009 bankruptcy.