The pickup truck wars have turned into a very key and hotly contested battlefield for the automotive industry. While the domestic big three still rule the roost when it comes to this segment, Toyota and Nissan have also tried to break into the market with their entries the Tundra and the Titan full-size pickup trucks. But wheras the Tundra has managed to squeak a very commendable existence for itself during the bulk of its production run, things have not gone so well for the current generation Titan. A prominent sign of the Titan’s woes has emerged earlier today, with Nissan confirming that a massive shakeup is in store for the Titan, with Nissan axing both the Titan XD Diesel and the regular cab variant at the end of the year.
While it’s no secret that the Titan’s sales figures have been much lower than Nissan anticipated when compared to many of its rivals, the Japanese car giant revealed in the case of the XD diesel, it was not so much because of its low sales, but rather because of a mutual agreement between Cummins and Nissan to end the mutual partnership that made the model possible. This turn of events is certainly a big shift from when the XD diesel was announced several years ago, with Nissan inking a deal with Cummins to produce the engine for this particular model. Typically associated with FCA and its Ram brand, the company’s 2016 venture with Nissan was the first time that the firm branched out into a collaboration with a second automaker. The 5.0 liter 310 horsepower diesel V8 (rumored to have been for a shelved Ram product) was supposed to give the Titan better fuel economy, and also enhance the Titan’s towing manners at the same time. Unfortunately, demand was very weak, and the XD Diesel only accounted for a very small percentage of the Titan’s already meager sales figures during its time in production.
The absence of the XD diesel for 2020 is only the tip of the ice berg, with Nissan also revealing that the regular cab version of the model as well as the gasoline powered Titan XD will bite the dust when 2019 comes to a close. These cuts will only leave the extended and quad cab variants available for consumers to choose from when they visit their local Nissan showroom. While the axing of the regular cab will be a tough pill to swallow for bargain focused pickup buyers, quad and extended cab configurations are very strong sellers in the broader segment, and this move could allow Nissan to position itself as a more compelling target to customers that need the extra space to haul people or gear over long distances while also making some extra profit to cover the cost of having less choices in its Titan lineup.
But while Nissan is rolling back the Titan’s presence for 2020, the company is still not giving up on the Titan, with the truck getting a refresh for the new model year. Recent sightings of testers in the wild reveal that the front fascia will receive the bulk of the changes with the front grille having a very distinct ‘T” shape in the opening which is a slight reference to the truck’s moniker. The interior will also receive its fair share of attention including a larger screen and buttons for the infotainment system. As for engines, look for the 2020 model to follow the Tundra’s lead, and solely use an updated version of the company’s 5.6 liter gasoline V8 that’s good for 390 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. It’s unknown if another engine could be waiting in the wings, but we suspect that Nissan will not do any major changes to that front in the immediate future.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.