In the process of developing its next Titan, Nissan has made some interesting discoveries in its market research. It found that there is a large segment of their market that is not being sufficiently catered to.
According to surveys, many owners of half-ton trucks (such as Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150) feel that they are not receiving the full potential capabilities of their trucks. On the other hand, the drivers of three-quarter-ton trucks (such as the GMC Sierra 2500 and the Ram 2500) have enough excessive capability but at the cost of factors such as cost, fuel-efficiency, and comfort.
Having made this discovery, Nissan has also realized that this segment of their market is looking for the type of HD truck which domestic automakers manufactured roughly a decade ago. According to Nissan, the last ten years have seen the creation of a large gap between the truck industry’s heavy-duty and light-duty models due to a rapidly increasing torque war among automakers.
Nissan’s answer to this gap in the market is to introduce the 2016 Titan XD, a semi-heavy-duty rig powered by a formidable diesel Cummins V-8. The automaker estimates that the Titan XD will be successful in capturing the roughly 75,000 potential buyers who fall between light and heavy-duty trucks each year. These potential buyers account for the industry’s largest segment in terms of both profit volume and margin. Therefore, the potential for Nissan to cash in on this opportunity is massive.
Randy Rodriguez,Nissan’s Project Lead Designer, dug deep into Greek mythology with the Titan’s name. Acknowledging that Titans had superhuman strength as well as endurance, he incorporated these elements in his design. Using images from movies such as Gladiator, Spartacus, and 300, he designed the Titan’s massive grill and body sides to represent warriors’ masks and shoulder armor. These design elements make for an impressive, even imposing exterior. However, many critics feel that it is not as original or distinctive as the look of the first-generation Titan.
As the Titan XD is available solely with the Cummins 5.0 liter turbo diesel V-8 (providing310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque), it provides enough power to tow up to 12,314 pounds, as well as haul 2,091 pounds worth of weight in its bed. This is just shy of the 14,000-pound towing capability of most heavy-duty trucks but, at the same time, is comfortably above the tow capacity of lightweight trucks. The Titan XD is also available from the Nissan factory with a removable in-bed goose neck hitch for heavy-duty towing capability.A fifth-wheel adapter is also an option.
A major credibility booster for Nissan is the support of the Cummins. For loyal devotees of hardcore truckers, the Cummins tie-in is a guarantee of quality in its own right, and this alone will cause domestic brand loyalists to give the truck a second, thorough appraisal. Over its almost 100 years of existence, this Indiana-based engine manufacturer has gathered loyalists whose devotion borders on religious fervor. In fact, Nissan was so excited to have the Cummins that they were willing to redesign the truck’s hood and bedsides to accommodate the powerful engine. With maximum torque available from just 1,600 revs, as well as a refined power delivery that does not clatter, this compacted graphite iron (CGI) block mill also is guaranteed to start in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees, in as quicklyas two seconds.
The leather is of excellent quality, the switch gear is easily reachable, and there’s a very solid-sounding 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system which can be operated through a 7-inch touchscreen. This also features navigation and the Nissan Connect app suite. Surprisingly for a diesel truck of this size, it features aquietinterior, which can be attributed to acoustically laminated side glass, sound deadening, and much tighter body gaps. A column-mounted shifter provides valuable space for cup holders, bins, and the like. For workers who often carry large quantities of beverages to stay hydrated in the field, this is good news. In fact, Nissan’s spokespeople pointed out that there are at least 16 cup holders present in the truck, as well as a bin with the capacity to carry a pair of 32-ounce Gatorade bottles.
The Titan XD also offers substantial configurability. It caters to a wide range of bed lengths, power trains, trim packages, and other features. The old Nissan Titan covered only 55 percent of the market’s possible combinations, but according to Nissan,the XD will grow to cover 85 percent throughout 2016.
With all this and more to offer, Nissan seems to have found the perfect combination fora winning deal to secure the market segment between heavy-duty and light-duty truck owners.