America may be losing a full-size truck option. Automotive News reports that Nissan plans to kill off its Titan (or TITAN, if you work at Nissan) pickup after the current model run expires. The report says the company is deciding whether to cut the cord after the 2024 or 2025 model year.
Nissan's move is not that surprising. Here's why.
Nissan doesn't sell many Titans
Full-size trucks are America's best-selling vehicles. But Nissan and Toyota face tough-sledding facing off against Big Three brand loyalty. And Nissan has made far less headway with the Titan. It's a solid truck, in a segment where everything else is outstanding. Nissan sold just 27,406 Titans in 2021, and that was an improvement over 2020 — a year when Nissan launched an updated model.
Let's put that into context. Americans bought more than 2.1 million full-size trucks in 2021. So those sales give Nissan about a 1.2% market share. Ford sold more than 26 times as many F-Series pickups that year. Nissan sold more than twice as many Frontier pickups last year. The Titan was only Nissan's ninth best-selling vehicle.
Updating the Titan would be costly
To continue past 2024–2025, Nissan would need to give the Titan a comprehensive and expensive overhaul even to look like it was keeping up with competitors. A new Titan would require a new engine — likely engines plural — to replace the 5.6-liter V8. The brand would need a more fuel-efficient V6 engine, a hybrid and, potentially by 2024 or 2025, even an electric model. The truck would need a new platform. It's hard to look at the Titan's sales numbers and justify that effort.
But rival Toyota did update the Tundra, right?
Yes, Toyota just put out an all-new Tundra and a lot of effort into it. But Toyota's situation is different than Nissan's. The Tundra has struggled to compete with the Big Three on sales too. But Toyota still sold more than three times as many Tundras in 2021. Nissan has been trying to establish a truck brand. Toyota has robust truck branding with stalwarts like the Tacoma and 4Runner that it's trying to extend to the full-size segment. It's not a giant leap to think the new Tundra will move into six-figure sales (and make
Toyota also didn't develop the Tundra in a vacuum. Costs were spread around the Toyota and Lexus lineup. The TNGA-F is a global platform underpinning a wide range of vehicles like the J300 Land Cruiser and the Lexus LX600. Versions of the Tundra's engines are also used on several vehicles, even outside the truck realm, like the Lexus LS sedan. It's hard to see Nissan getting that much use out of a new Titan platform.