Nissan Truck Woes

Posted by: David Kiley on December 19, 2007

Remember when the Nissan Titan was going to really put the fear of…well…something…into Ford? Sales are clicking along at an anemic 5,000 trucks or so a month. The company sold 61,000 through November.

I asked a Nissan official this week if the company was still committed to the pickup market given the softening of the market overall and fuel economy regs. The answer: “It depends on who you ask in the company.”

Hmmmmmmm. While Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn hasn’t publicly wavered from his committment to pickups, there are clearly execs in the middle who doubt his sanity. The Armada SUV, a beast of an SUV if ever I drove one, sold about 30,000 through November, more respectable than Titan’s performance given the context of the full-size SUV segment.

Indeed, Nissan could walk away from pickups at some point in the future, but keep the Armada business going and try and build out a light-duty commercial vehicle business. Now that it has a platform it likes, it could tweak it for product cycles to come without an overhaul. At least that seems to be the thinking among some Nissan brass.

Reader Comments

Noz

December 19, 2007 12:05 PM

One has to wonder about the opportunities in the commercial van biz, competition for the GMC 'Savana' and corresponding Fords. Certainly the Dodge Sprinter is not hacking it. Some-thing nimble, frugal, highly innovative/practical is needed. Let the frontier be Nissan's sole pickup truck entry.

A potential problem is any union influence on commercial vehicle purchases to be driven by 'organized' operators, this despite where they are designed and built. Broad-minded thinking is not a union characteristic.

I would vote to sink the Titan.

hotpepper

December 20, 2007 7:38 AM

Nissan's large truck are overpriced. Styling is not attractive. The large SUV is even worse in styling, the interior remind buyer something like those old beast from Detroit, so why buy it?

Randall McAdory

December 20, 2007 11:11 AM

What are your thoughts about a future Nissan - Chrysler (Renault) partnership that would allow Chrysler to focus on what it does well for Nissan (big SUVs and pickups)?

Mark Nemith

December 26, 2007 10:14 AM

Nissan truck woes are marketing woes. The Titan is the most powerful truck in its class. Nissan kept the work side of this “beast” a very good secret. When you have a workhorse, tell the world!

Schmeltz

December 27, 2007 3:10 PM

I agree with much of your article in that Nissan started boastfully when it brought its Titan and Armada to market. But then in just a few years the business pretty much fizzled. This can't be completely blamed on Nissan, as the large vehicle segments have all suffered in this high gas price climate. However, Nissan had some quality issues in the beginning, a brand new factory and staff of employees to train, and a dealer network that had no experience in selling full-size pick-ups. Couple those issues with the fact that the Titan came with only one engine choice and two cab/bed configurations vs. the multitude of configurations an F150, Silverado, or even a Dodge would offer. The Titan isn't a bad vehicle in my observation, but it is not exceptional either. One has to wonder if there is a business case for the Titan and Armada for Nissan anymore?

You mentioned the Armada as a positive note...Well, comparing sales of just the Chevy Tahoe alone through November, the Tahoe sold 134,905 vehicles, 4 times the Armada sales, and that doesn't include the sibling Yukon in that figure. The Armada, like the Titan, is also a small slice of a decreasing market.

Perhaps, Nissan should consider a partner with a good truck and SUV resume...maybe someone should give Carlos the phone number to Chrysler?

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