Apparently, there’s a huge gap in the pickup truck market right now. That gap happens to go by the name of diesel, and Nissan plans for the next generation Titan to be the first Japanese-made pickup truck to fill it. Furthermore, they’re going to do it America-style with the help of Indiana-based engine designer, manufacturer and distributor, Cummins Inc.
News of the Titan’s upgraded powertrain came at the launch of this year’s Nissan 360 convention, which is more or less a personalized brag-fest Nissan uses to show off all their cool new technology and ideas. Not that there’s anything wrong with bragging, especially when it’s regarding such an important development. Speaking of development, the press release tells us that the Titan’s new Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine is in the final stages of testing. Apparently, the engine is being mule-tested on public highways even as we speak.
All in all, we couldn’t be more excited. The Titan hasn’t received an update since 2003, and it’s always lived as the neglected stepchild in an American-made pickup market. However, according to Fred Diaz, Nissan’s newly appointed VP of divisional sales and marketing in North America, “We’ve done our homework on the next-generation Titan. Truck owners told us there’s a demand for the performance and torque of a diesel in a capable truck that doesn’t require the jump up to a heavy-duty commercial pickup.” Nissan intends to be the supply to that demand.
In other words, you can rest assured that Nissan will do a lot more with their revamped Titan than Toyota did with their ‘new’ Tundra. We already knew that the next-gen Titan would add powertrain options and an extended range of cab-and-box configurations, we just didn’t realize we’d be getting a diesel, much less a high-caliber Cummins diesel engine. The press release tells us to expect upwards of 300hp, and some sources are even reporting as high as 550hp.
What’s particularly interesting about this new Cummins-powered Nissan Titan is the name behind the idea. For those of you who don’t know, just four months ago Fred Diaz was the CEO of Chrysler’s Ram Trucks division. Back in 2009, it was under Diaz’s leadership that Ram had partnered with Cummins to develop a diesel engine for the Ram 1500. However, once the US economy busted and the automotive market crashed (along with every other market), the Cummins-Ram deal fell by the wayside. Now that Diaz is at Nissan, he’s come back to Cummins, and this time he intends to see it through.
If you’re an American automotive manufacturer, there’s one simple lesson to be learned from this announcement: Nissan is serious about their pickup trucks. The new Titan will be a legitimate challenger to the dominant Ram 1500s and Ford F-150s of the world. As of Tuesday, Nissan is officially doing their best to break the chokehold of US manufacturers on the pickup truck market.
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