The Ford F-150 is America’s most popular vehicle, but not every automaker has found success in the full-size pickup market. Introduced in 2003, the Nissan Titan is about to be discontinued according to a credible report. Its place may be taken, although not immediately, by a smaller all-electric truck, which we believe will be part of the Frontier family.
The Titan went into development in 1999 and was ready for the 2004 model year. A lot of boxes were ticked, with the pickup boasting a strong 5.6-liter V8 which gave it an excellent towing capacity. That being said, Titan has developed a bit of a reputation.
Hint: Scotty Kilmer once put it on a Top 7 vehicles to avoid list. One common issue was that the exhaust manifold would crack and this could result in bits from the catalytic converter being sucked back into the engine, damaging it. That being said, a well-maintained Titan can last 300k miles.
The Titan is now in its second generation, which entered production in 2015. However, a recent report from Automotive News claims there are no plans to replace this with another model. No testing, no development, not even another facelift. As a result, the full-size truck could be dead as early as this year.
Nissan Dealer Advisory Board Chairman Tyler Slade believes this is a mistake because the Titan offers customers more usability than a Frontier. In addition, larger trucks are known to be more profitable. However, Nissan probably can’t afford to keep this vehicle in the lineup. Sales are projected to be lower than 20,000 units in 2022, even lower than the 27,400 achieved the previous year.
The alternative: an electric mid-size
Slade says that Nissan dealers are asking for an electric pickup that’s smaller than the Frontier, probably impressed by the huge markups (and profits) achieved by their Ford and GMC rivals.
The replacement electric pickup is loosely described as a “lightweight” model, but there are several reasons to believe it’s in the Frontier mid-size class and not a rival to the Ford Maverick. “The Frontier Hardbody has been a part of Nissan’s brand for decades. It’s logical to bring an electric version,” Slade says.
The Frontier pickup is assembled in Mississippi. That’s also where Nissan plans to make a lot of electric vehicles. There’s a $500 million investment plan lined up for the Canton factory which will begin rolling out sedans and crossovers by 2025. It would be logical to use some of those motors and battery components for the electric Frontier.
Ford vs Nissan
We suspect Nissan will do something similar to Ford’s approach with the F-150 Lightning, which is to re-engineer the existing vehicle, adding a super-rigid frame holding the battery and the cab on top. A unibody design is a lot more common in the EV world. However, the Japanese brand is struggling and doesn’t have a lot of development money at the moment.
Ford could be the direct rival to this truck as it’s expected a Ranger Lightning could debut sometime in 2024. To their credit, Nissan was way ahead of the pack with the Leaf, the first affordable, mass-market EV.
Nissan believes its sales will be 40% electric in the United States by 2031, and that might require them to make further technological advancements. News coming out of Japan is pretty exciting, though, as reports state the R36 GT-R is being developed as a high-performance EV rival to the Porsche Taycan.