Hulking Nissan Titan pick-up could come Down Under
THE hulking Nissan Titan could be coming to Australia. The big brother of the Navara ute has been built to date only in left-hand drive, given its focus on the US.
However, Nissan has hatched a global expansion plan that is intended to put it into many more of the 133 countries where the Navara is already sold.
Australia is a clear target for Nissan and the right-hand drive ambition is confirmed by the head of light-commercial vehicle operations for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Ashwani Gupta, speaking at the Tokyo motor show.
"Truck lovers love trucks. We are studying the expansion of the Titan full-size pick-up in other markets outside the US,” said Gupta.
He confirmed Australia as a potential destination for the Titan, which competes against the Ford F150 around the world, noting an opportunity in a country where utes have become a dominant force in showrooms.
"Everywhere we sell Navara we do the study. Truck lovers love trucks. Truck customers are passionate. They are buying functionality but they want emotional functionality.”
Gupta said Nissan aims to be worldwide No.1 in light-commercial vehicles, which is one of the reasons for bringing Mitsubishi into the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2016.
"We formed this business to complement each other, so we can have the maximum results,” he said.
"One out of four or five vehicles in the world is an LCV (light commercial vehicle). We are the fastest growing pick-up brand in the world.”
Nissan's benchmark is the Navara, which has just been spun off into the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and will soon become the Renault Alaskan, while Mitsubishi relies on the Triton.
The Titan sits well above the one-tonne utes that sell so well in Australia, in a space where limited numbers of the Ram Trucks - converted to right-hand drive by Walkinshaw automotive in a partnership with Ateco called American Special Vehicles - are the sole mainstream choice.
US versions of the Titan have single, crew and "king” cab variants with 5.6-litre V8 power (about 300kW/700Nm) with seven-speed automatic transmission. There is also a V6 option and a concept has been shown with 5.0-litre V8 turbo diesel.
Nissan believes there is a definite opportunity in Australia, despite the Titan program being in its early stages.
"When you have a passion for a one-tonne ute you also have a passion for a full-size pick-up,” Gupta said.
But he said nothing is confirmed, either on right-hand drive or a date for potential sales in Australia. "We don't give the timing,” he said.