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Tokyo show: Nissan Titan on radar for Australia

Big hauler: The Nissan Titan would sit above the mid-size Navara in the Australian line-up, should it get the green light.

Nissan confirms it is considering Titan pick-up for all markets that sell Navara

Nissan logo27 Oct 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

NISSAN has revealed that it is studying the case for the Titan pick-up truck to be sold in all global markets where the Navara is available, meaning Australia is now in line to receive the hulking full-size US-built utility direct from the factory.

Speaking with Australian journalists in Tokyo this week, Renault-Nissan LCV business unit senior vice-president Ashwani Gupta said a shift in consumer preferences had led to the company studying a wider rollout for the Titan beyond the traditional US market.

“We are studying the markets for the global application,” Mr Gupta said at a Nissan LCV media event. “For sure there is a market. For sure the markets are growing. Not only in US but outside the US. And now we are considering many markets for the global application of it.

“What we are seeing clearly that the full-size pick-up market was only in US. But we clearly see that customers are evolving in other markets from one-tonne to full-size. This is already we can see through our market intelligence and through our customer clinic and now we are studying the ‘when’ and ‘how’.”

Asked if Australia was one of the countries that will study the feasibility of the Titan, Mr Gupta said that he could not divulge timing but that “everywhere we sell Navara we do the study”.

“Truck lovers love trucks, so all the markets where you have truck lovers, we are studying,” he said.

Mr Gupta highlighted the recent sales success of the Titan in the US that launched in second-generation guise in 2016, and suggested fans of mid-size pick-ups such as the Navara were similar to people who buy full-size trucks.

“The segment is growing in the US in the full size – we have grown 228 per cent,” he said.

12 center imageLeft: Renault-Nissan LCV business unit senior vice-president Ashwani Gupta

“In the calendar year we have sold more than 40,000 already, which is a tremendous success. This is making its own space. It is conquesting of course its competitors, but it is also creating its own space. And this is where we are finding customers graduating either from mid-size to full-size (pick-up), or maybe from other SUV segments.

“So we do believe that we have similar truck lovers in other parts of the world. Because truck is truck. The similarities between mid-size truck and full-size truck are similar. It is the driveability, robustness, handling. We do believe in other parts of the world, customers are graduating from mid-size to full-size.

“So for us, left-hand drive and right-hand drive, it is just a question of business. Because customers exist. There is no challenge on the technology between left-hand drive and right-hand drive and there is no challenge on the customer requirement, because, more or less, left-hand drive and right-hand drive, both love truck. It is only a question of whether it makes sense for us or not.”

Nissan only builds the Titan at its assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, and has never produced a right-hand-drive version from the factory, meaning a significant investment to retool for right-hook markets such as Australia would be required.

The Titan is already available in Australia from right-hand-drive conversion specialists such as Performax International, the latter offering both single cab and dual cab body styles built around a 321kW/752Nm 5.0-litre turbo-diesel engine. Prices start north of $100,000.

When asked whether the factory push into other global markets for the Titan was likely to happen in the next-generation truck or during a mid-life update, Mr Gupta said: “There is no technology which we can’t do it.

“It is just a question of time and the business. That’s what we are studying now. For us this is not objective, whether we should target left-hand drive or right-hand drive. Wherever the business exists we go for it and that is what we are studying.”

If it comes to Australia, the Titan could face competition from FCA Australia which is considering importing the next-generation Ram 1500 direct from the factory, should right-hand-drive production be approved.

The Ram 2500 and a variety of other full-size trucks including the Ford F-Series, GMC Denali, Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Tundra are offered in Australia via independent conversion specialists.

Toyota Australia has previously considered the case for selling a factory version of the Tundra here, but has ruled it out.

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