Wondering why it’s taking Nissan so long to develop a next-generation Titan pickup? Much of the blame, it seems, rests upon Chrysler’s shoulders.
The Japanese automaker had partnered with Mother Mopar to develop the next-generation Titan — originally slated for a 2011 launch — off the latest Ram pickup. Those plans were scrapped in the summer of 2009 during Chrysler’s bankruptcy, when Chrysler’s entire partnership with Nissan (including the venture that provided Mexican dealers with a rebadged Versa) was terminated.
Nissan is still working on a second-gen Titan, but since development work was shifted entirely in-house, it will take some time before we see a finished product.
“It’s clearly going to take us longer to launch our own internal program,” Larry Dominique, Nissan North America’s vice president of product planning, told Automotive News. “We are pushing very hard to see what we can do to accelerate development; we’re looking at every way we can pull ahead the start of production.”
Early reports suggested the new truck would arrive in 2014, but Nissan won’t comment on the timetables for the product, if they even exist. Dominque noted the company “hasn’t come close” to telling anyone — even suppliers — when the first production date is scheduled.
Although independence from Chrysler throws the Titan program into some flux, it does allow engineers to have a little more flexibility in developing engine options for the new pickup. Presently, the Titan is only offered with a single engine — a 5.6-liter V-8 — but the automaker is considering a host of different options for the next-generation model.
“I have a broad menu I can look at,” Dominque said. “We could do downsized powertrains; we could do an enhanced V-8; and we could look at diesel powertrains.”
That last point could prove to be interesting. Nissan had been pushing to develop a heavy-duty Titan, but a light-duty diesel pickup could be a segment exclusive, should Chrysler not beat Nissan to the punch. The automaker could possibly utilize the new turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 it recently launched in Europe, although it could always utilize its newfound liason with Daimler to source engines for the project.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)