Over the weekend the embargo that was in place on driving impressions of the 2016 Nissan Titan XD expired, meaning that all of the major automotive outlets that was able to drive the truck could publish their articles. We had a chance to drive it, so stay tuned for our impressions. But how it drives is just one important factor in whether or not the truck will sell well. Price, ultimately, is going to matter the most.
Nissan believes there’s a market for a heavy half-ton. The Titan XD delivers half-ton ride quality, plus other benefits, while also having the ability to do more work. Classified as a 2B truck, the truck sits in the 3/4 ton category, but that’s not the market.
The idea of the heavy half-ton is the buyer who needs more but doesn’t need it all. The Ram 2500, with the straight-six Cummins diesel makes an astonishing 900 lb-ft of torque. Most people don’t need that performance.
Nissan did partner with Cummins for the Titan XD, and the 5.0L V8 makes 555 lb-ft of torque.
Truck buyers are stuck in their ways, and if a half-ton isn’t enough for them, they’ll go up to a full 3/4-ton size truck. They’re also extremely brand loyal. Those two things are working against Nissan.
But, preliminary pricing is $40,000 for the base, $50,000 for the Pro-4X, and $60,000 for the Platinum Reserve. If Nissan hits those preliminary pricing targets, it means you can (in most cases) get a more capable truck than the established competition at the same price point.
Remember folks, Nissan doesn’t need a pickup truck to stay profitable. Unlike the Big 3, which relies heavily on truck profits for the bottom line, Nissan could stop selling pickup trucks today and be perfectly fine. Because they have that freedom, they could be very aggressive on pricing to build marketshare.
I’m not saying they’ll sell the truck at a loss, but they might be wise to shrink the margins as much as they can. Clearly they have to pay Cummins for the engines, and those aren’t cheap, but there’s a lot of flexibility in pricing for the rest of the truck.
It’ll be interesting to see how pricing shakes out over the coming weeks. We might be pleasantly surprised.