Nissan Motor Corp. will offer a factory lift kit of up to three inches on its full-size Titan and Titan XD pickup trucks, the automaker said at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday.
The kit will be available at Nissan dealerships across the country beginning in spring 2018.
The new lift kit on Nissan Titan and Titan XD trucks offers increased ground clearance to make room for larger, more aggressive wheels and tires. The automaker teamed with Riverside, Calif. company Icon Vehicle Dynamics 4×4 to design the package.
Lift kits are one of the most popular modifications that owners perform on their trucks. “What we’re seeing is a lot of people that are looking for the looks,” said Tiago Castro, director of light commercial vehicles sales and marketing for Nissan. “It's less about off road capabilities, it's a lift kit for the looks.”
Automakers have recently offered more aftermarket modifications straight from the factory. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in particular has been eager to offer its Ram 1500 and heavy-duty trucks in a wide variety of colors and appearance packages to lure customers who would otherwise do the work themselves.
It makes it an easy buy,” Castro said.
The new package could help Nissan attract new buyers to its popular Titan and Titan XD trucks in the growing full-size pickup segment.
“Normally the vehicle that is accessorized properly sells faster,” Castro said. “So what we expect is that at least our inventory will turn quicker with these accessories.”
The automaker sold more than 52,000 Titan and Titan XDs in 2017, a huge increase over 21,880 units sold in 2016, according to industry research firm Autodata Corp. Nissan’s share in the full-size pickup segment more than doubled from 0.8 percent in 2016 to 1.9 percent in 2017.
The company still sells less than half the trucks of its nearest competitor, the Toyota Tundra. And its Titan sales are a tiny fraction of the massive 2.37 million full-size pickup truck sales in the U.S. in 2017.
But Nissan is hoping the lift kit and its association with Icon 4×4 will increase its recognition among buyers. Icon is renowned for its modern restorations, or restomods, of vintage SUVs such as the Toyota FJ and Ford Bronco. Each vehicle is carefully restored and modified with style and performance upgrades. The vehicles are handmade and typically cost more than $100,000 each.
Any extra Titan and Titan XD sales are a plus for Nissan. Automakers typically generate more profit from each sale of a truck or SUV than smaller passenger cars.
Pricing for the Titan and Titan XD lift kit will be available closer to launch in the spring.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story identified Nissan's lift partner as Icon of Chatworth, Calif. It is Icon Vehicle Dynamics of Riverside, Calif.