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Nissan Titan edges closer to Oz

Titanic ask: Nissan is currently working on how to make a RHD Titan pick-up viable for Australia.

US-market Nissan Titan pick-up decision looms but factory RHD questions remain

11 Nov 2019

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in TOKYO

NISSAN is believed to be very close to a decision on the viability of the Titan full-sized pick-up truck for the Australian market, though whether that means factory-built right-hand-drive (RHD) or a conversion as per the successful Ram American trucks remains to be seen.

 

Speaking to the media at the Tokyo Motor Show last month, Nissan Motor Company global head of light commercial vehicles Francois Bailly was open about the brand’s desire to sell the North American-made ute in Australia at the earliest possible convenience.

 

“There is a lot of interest from Australia and other markets for the (latest) Titan,” he said.

 

“But we’re not ready yet to announce the introduction of Titan in Australia. We are doing our homework to see how that would work and be OK for our Australian customers, but there is a lot of other interest from around the globe for that truck too.”

 

Now in its second generation since the Titan series started Stateside in 2003, the existing H61 series was unveiled in late 2015, with a significant facelift and upgrade announced in September for the 2020 model-year ushering in a nine-speed auto and broader driver-assist safety like autonomous emergency braking and updated multimedia systems.

 

It shares its F-Alpha ladder-frame chassis platform and 5.6-litre petrol V8 with the Y62 Patrol and Infiniti QX80 – two models already made currently available for Australian consumers.

 

Mr Bailly added that Nissan wants to ensure that Australian consumers are ready and willing to pay the premium for a full-sized pick-up truck.

 

“It’s been a very open dialogue, but there’s lots of things still to get through to understand the customers at the forefront of the decision-making process,” he said.

 

“And we have to make sure that whatever decision is made, as long as they’re at the best interest of those customers in the long run.”

 

According to Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester, making the business case for RHD availability viable is more difficult than actually producing it, but his team in Melbourne will continue to explore all available avenues and options.

 

“We still have work to do,” he said. “The reality is, though, it is not produced anywhere in RHD, and we need to find a way of making that happen. Technically speaking, though, this is the easy part.”

 

Demand is strong for the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 trucks in Australia, which range from $80,000 to $145,000 and are purchased as left-hand-drive vehicles from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles by importer Ateco Automotive before being converted in Melbourne by Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).

 

Ateco has sold 2275 units to the end of October, the vast majority (+2000) being the more affordable 1500 versions.

 

HSV has also muscled in with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500/2500, priced from $115,000 to $148,000.


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