We already knew the next-gen Nissan Titan was getting a Cummins diesel, and the Japanese automaker is also marketing its American manufacturing credentials as well. But can a new diesel V8 and an all-American marketing campaign help lift sales that have fallen to record lows?
The teaser video doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know in terms of the 5.0 liter Cummins V8. I was initially disappointed that Nissan didn’t go with a smaller displacement diesel, like the 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V6 that helped the Ram 1500 earn a 28 MPG rating. I’ve since come around to recognize that this engine could make the Titan a powerful competitor while also earning respectable fuel economy compared to better-selling brands.
The Nissan Titan did enjoy a brief spat of popularity in the mid-2000s, peaking at just under 87,000 sales in 2005, but sales probably won’t even break 12,000 for 2014. Part of the problem is that the current Titan was introduced back in 2003, meaning its been on the market (and for the most part, unchanged) for over a decade now. It’s simply not competitive anymore, especially when automakers like Ford, GM, and Chrysler have gone through three major redesigns in the same time period.
Nissan didn’t mention any specifics, but I have to imagine that lightweight materials will play a role in the next Titan as well. The teaser was heavy on pumping up the American street cred, such as a design penned in California, tested in Arizona, and engineered in Michigan. Of course this makes sense, since the Titan isn’t sold outside of North America, but that’s neither here nor there, right?
On January 12th the world will get its first look at the new Nissan Titan and its Cummins diesel. Can a new engine, a new look, and a new emphasis on its American design breath new life into this flagging nameplate? If not, there’s always the Nissan Frontier diesel concept and the next-generation LEAF to look forward to.