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Nissan Aims Titan Shot at Big Three's Pickups

August 14, 2003

Nissan Motor Co. is taking dead aim at one of Detroit's last lucrative profit bastions -- the market for full-size pickups -- with its Titanmodel, slated for launch Dec. 1, according to the Wall Street Journal.The Big Three auto makers make only marginal profits on traditional cars, and import brands have made big inroads in recent years into the market for minivans and sport-utility vehicles, according to the Journal. But General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Dodge division had gone unchallenged in the market for big pickupsuntil now."The Titan is a no-excuses vehicle," Fred Suckow, Nissan's director of U.S. marketing, said at a media preview of the truck. That means the Titan is as big and powerful as the pickups from Detroit, something no other Japanese company offers, according to the Journal.The market for full-size pickups isn't one Detroit will cede easily, the Journal said. But Nissan is counting on innovations such as the wide-opening king-cab doors and the only five-speed automatic transmission in its class (competitors have four-speed automatics) to spur Titan's sales. It is also counting on the emergence of less-traditional truck buyers -- not farmers or contractors, but suburbanites who drive their trucks to work and then use them to tow boats or haul dirt bikes on weekends, according to the Journal.
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