Nissan Launching Teaser Blitz for New Titan Pickup

Maker launches 12-episode "Truckumentary."

by on Dec.01, 2014

Nissan offers a first look at a thinly disguised version of its 2016 Titan pickup.

With the official unveiling of the next-generation Nissan Titan pickup just six weeks away, the Japanese maker is launching a teaser blitz to drum up interest.  That’s probably a good idea considering the Titan has been, at best, an afterthought in a full-size truck segment overwhelming dominated by Detroit.

Nissan originally had big hopes of carving out its own niche, but after 11 years with no major makeover of the outgoing Titan, the maker clearly needs to start all over with a fresh design, improved powertrain options and a raft of new features.

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The first hint of what Nissan will deliver with the 2016 Titan debuts today, notes Chief Product Specialist Rich Miller, who says “The ‘Truckumentary’ is not meant to be the all-encompassing last word on Titan. Rather it’s the continuing story of the vehicle’s evolution, accompanied by a close look at the American-based team that is bringing this all-new truck to market.”

The series will continue even after the unveiling of the new Titan at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, with a dozen videos, in all. They’ll be accessible either through Nissan’s online newsroom at or on .

What has already learned is that the debut event at the North American International Auto Show will put a spotlight on an all-new diesel engine developed specifically for the 2016 Nissan Titan. That high-torque powertrain is expected to be available at launch, along with several gasoline options, including V-8 and V-6 alternatives.

(New Ford F-150 gets EPA nod as highest-mileage gas-powered full-size pickup. Click Here for the story.)

Japanese makers have long tried to crack the code for the full-size pickup segment, with little success so far. Toyota was first to market, starting with the original T100 it marketed between 1993 and 1998. It was really more a “tweener,” about seven-eighths the size of American rivals like the Ford F-Series, and fell flat.

An updated model, rechristened the Tundra, followed in 2000, but didn’t fare much better. Toyota came up with a full redesign in 2007, and was so optimistic it built a new pickup plant in Texas, but sales still fell far short of expectations – as they did with the update launched for the 2014 model-year.

Nissan was equally ambitious with the launch of the 2004 Titan, offering such innovations as a “Wide-Open Door” system that yawned a full 168 degrees, and the industry’s first factory-installed spray-in bedliner. Nonetheless, Nissan’s Titan didn’t do much better than Toyota’s Tundra.

(Chevy goes off-road with Colorado ZR-2 concept. Click Here to check it out.)

Expectations were that Nissan would come up with some quick fixes, or move to an all-new design. It dropped a surprise, announcing it would partner with the struggling Chrysler Group to come up with a version of the Detroit maker’s Ram 1500.

The project was well underway when Chrysler plunged into bankruptcy in 2009, emerging in a new alliance with Italy’s Fiat SpA. New CEO Sergio Marchionne quickly pulled the plug on the Nissan deal, sending the Japanese maker back to the drawing board.

Now, four years late, Nissan is getting ready to deliver an all-new Titan that will offer a broader array of body styles and powertrain options – a critical advantage that Detroit makers have had over their Asian truck rivals.

To underscore that development, Nissan will focus on its new diesel during the Detroit debut. That could help the new truck pose a bigger challenge to the new Ford F-150 that goes on sale late this year. Ford is promising a significant improvement in mileage thanks to its shift to a lightweight, “aluminum-intensive” body.  How much will the diesel improve Titan’s mileage remains to be seen, but one source suggests the diesel model could deliver nearly the fuel economy of Nissan’s smaller Frontier pickup.

Currently, only Chrysler is offering a diesel option for a light-duty version of the Ram 1500. GM will launch a diesel for its new midsize trucks in 2016, and may add one for its big Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra lines. Ford has opted to stick with its gas-powered turbo EcoBoost engines for mileage-minded buyers.

Nissan could certainly use the new truck. It’s currently selling barely 1,000 Titan’s a month, compared to about 10,000 Toyota Tundras – and almost 60,000 Ford F-Series trucks.

(Ram 1500 EcoDiesel named Green Truck of the Year. Click Here for the full story.)

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