The Nissan Titan’s time might finally be up

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What does a nice truck have to do to get some love around here?

That’s a question Nissan has been trying to answer since 2004, when the Titan, the company’s first full-sized pickup, was introduced in North America. Nissan had high hopes that the Titan would make some serious headway against the segment leaders—Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, Dodge/Ram and even Toyota—but it never happened.

And this week, Automotive News added some specifics to weeks of rumors that production on the Titan is winding down, likely in 2024, and carrying over to an end date in 2025; 2024 would be the truck’s 20th birthday.

Nissan was circumspect when asked about the fate of the Titan, handing out a boilerplate statement to all who inquired: “Titan is an important part of Nissan’s showroom, and we’ve seen a positive impact from Frontier in driving added awareness and consideration for our full-size truck. Titan remains in Nissan’s truck lineup for the 2022 model year and beyond.”

Not exactly a deluge of praise to douse the sizzling rumor mill.

Nissan built a plant in Mississippi expressly for the construction of the Titan, as well as other vehicles built off the same platform, such as the Nissan Armada. When the Titan entered the market in 2004, it did so with a fully realized truck at a moderately reasonable price. There have never been any “stripper” Titans with six-cylinder engines and manual transmissions, like the other manufacturers offered; even the cheapest Titan model came with a gutsy 305-horsepower V-8, a five-speed automatic transmission, and air conditioning.

Resale value has never been the Titan’s long suit. That makes the it a good used-truck value, but that doesn’t do Nissan any good now. According to Kelly Blue Book, a 2015 Titan with 100,000 miles in good condition would have a trade-in value of $13,376, compared to $20,441 for a similarly equipped Ford F-150. And the F-150, KBB says, has had 13 recalls, and the Titan one.

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The Titan underwent a facelift in 2016 and 2020, introducing an XD model, which sort of straddled the conventional half-ton and three-quarter-ton line. It even offered a diesel engine, but nothing seemed to catch the truck buyer’s fancy.

The Titan’s demise likely helped move along the redesign of the smaller Frontier, which over the years had gone from a compact truck to a solidly mid-sized one.

The Frontier went essentially unchanged for an incredible 16 years, but it was always a solid, bargain-priced pickup, especially for fleet markets. Now the Frontier’s bigger, more powerful (a 310-horsepower V-6 with a nine-speed automatic transmission) with a starting price of $30,000, so it’s likely to snag a few buyers who come to Nissan dealers with a full-sized truck in mind. The Frontier is an excellent alternative.

Mourn the Titan if you wish. Plenty of loyal owners will. But there never were enough of them to make meaningful inroads into the Big Three’s lock on the full-size truck market. Ford can move 700,000 pickups in a year, where the Titan’s sales topped out at just over 50,000 in 2017. It currently has a one percent share of the market.

If the end is nigh, so long Titan—we hardly knew ye.

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