In the past year, Nissan has introduced several new light-duty Titan and heavier-duty Titan XD pickup trucks available with an array of different engine choices and cab configurations.
It’s not done yet.
On Thursday, the automaker debuted its 2017 Titan King Cab and Titan XD King Cab at the Chicago Auto Show.
The new Titan and Titan XD King Cabs fill the size gap between the Single and Crew Cab models currently on sale. King Cab models will feature wide-opening “suicide” rear doors to access the second row.
Both the Titan and Titan XD King Cab will be available in 4×2 or 4×4 drive, and are powered by a 5.6-liter V8 engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The Titan XD can also be equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 Turbo Diesel rated at 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque, matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Titan and Titan XD King Cabs will be available in S, SV and PRO-4X trim levels. The S and SV trims will have two rows capable of seating six passengers as standard equipment. The PRO-4X will have front bucket seats and carry five passengers total.
The biggest differentiator is the “rear seat delete” option for buyers of the S and SV trims if they prefer more utility space behind the front row, making the Titan and Titan XD the only full-size pickup trucks to offer the choice.
Slotted above the S and SV trims, the PRO-4X is over an inch wider, and boasts 18-inch dark machine-finished aluminum alloy wheels fitted with all-terrain tires. The PRO-4X trim also has greater approach and departure angles, and comes standard with Hill Descent Control.
The King Cab is the latest of several variations to the Titan lineup, as Nissan seeks to offer different sizes and capabilities to U.S. customers. In 2016, the automaker introduced the Titan and Titan XD Single Cab to appeal to commercial fleets hoping to increase the brand’s standing in the eyes of truck enthusiasts, said Michael Bunce, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America, when the vehicle launched in in November.
The addition of the rear seat delete option is another attempt to reach commercial customers. When selected, Nissan removes the rear seat, rear heater duct and rear roof-mounted assist grips. They are replaced with a flat rear load floor and rear wall finisher with tie-down hooks.
“Now, with the addition of a half-ton Titan, our new Endurance V8, three body configurations, three bed lengths and a range of grade levels and equipment packages, we’re covering nearly every segment in the personal and commercial full-size truck markets,” said Fred Diaz, division vice president and general manager of North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles for Nissan North America.
In January, sales of industry-wide full-size pickups grew by 4.1 percent over the same month a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp.
Sales of the Titan and Titan XD rose to nearly 23,000 vehicles as the new trucks rolled out in 2016, up 80 percent compared with 2015 figures. But the models captured just 0.8 percent of market share among full-size pickups. Titan sales pale in comparison to the roughly 115,000 Toyota Tundras, 490,000 Rams, 575,000 Chevrolet Silverados and 820,000 Ford F-Series trucks sold in 2016.
Different cab sizes and a best-in-class five-year, 100,000-mile warranty may entice more customers to give the Titan a serious look, said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at IHS Markit. The biggest way Nissan can gain traction in the competitive segment is to convince buyers that the Titan and Titan XD are worth considering, she said in January.
As a segment, sales of light trucks – including pickups, SUVs, crossovers and vans – grew by 5.7 percent over January 2017, and accounted for 62.6 percent of all vehicle sales across the industry. That’s an even higher figure than the 60 percent share that light trucks captured in 2016, up from 55 percent in 2015.
At the same time, those vehicles are becoming more and more expensive. From 2012 to 2016, the average price paid for a light duty full-size pickup truck grew by more than 20 percent, according to market research firm J.D. Power.
Pricing for the Titan and Titan XD King Cab models has not been announced yet.
“It’s a real workhorse like the new Single Cab, but with more flexibility to stow equipment and other valuables,” Diaz said. “Now, with the new King Cab and Single Cab models, we expect to grow our worksite presence with Titan and Titan XD as well.”