Cheered on by the hundreds of employees who built it, the first Nissan Titan -- a red King Cab SE 4x4 -- rolled off Nissan North America's (NNA) assembly line in Canton, Miss., on the morning of Oct. 21. It was a significant moment in automotive history, as Nissan is the first manufacturer in decades to enter the segment with a truly full-size truck.
Then, to the surprise of the audience, a second Titan came off the line in an even bigger way, towing a multi-ton front-end loader (bulldozer) to demonstrate its horsepower, torque and 9,500-pound towing capacity.
"This is not only the start of something big for Nissan and the state of Mississippi, but for American consumers as well," said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML). "Titan is the roomiest, most powerful standard full-size truck in the U.S., and the dedicated men and women in Canton have brought this vehicle to production in record time."
Titan is the third product to roll off Canton's assembly line in less than five months, an unprecedented launch schedule. Construction of the plant began just two-and-a-half years ago, and since that time, several thousand employees have been hired and trained to build high-quality, innovative Nissan vehicles. The Quest minivan began production on May 27, and the Pathfinder Armada full-size SUV was added to the line in mid-August, 10 days ahead of schedule.
"Some said it couldn't be done, but in just 30 months since our groundbreaking, we've begun producing hundreds of vehicles every day," said Dave Boyer, vice president of manufacturing at NNA Canton. "Today we begin the production of the most powerful standard full-size truck on the market, and this Canton team has worked tirelessly to ensure it is built as tough as it looks. Considering their accomplishments, I think it's fair to say THEY are true Nissan Titans."
Titan is powered by Nissan's Endurance 5.6-liter V8, which is manufactured at Nissan's powertrain plant in Decherd, Tenn. The engine produces 305 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque -- "rivaling the power of competitors' optional engines," according to Nissan. With the full-size truck segment's only five-speed automatic transmission, it also boasts best-in-class fuel economy at 14 mpg in city driving and either 18 mpg or 19 mpg in highway driving, depending on drive configuration, Nissan said.
Nissan also made sure Titan raised the full-size truck bar with innovative new features. Its exclusive Wide-Open™ rear door on the King Cab opens nearly 180 degrees, providing almost unlimited access to the rear seats and avoiding the "trap" that can happen when a competitor's rear door swings open only halfway, butting up against the neighboring vehicle, according to Nissan. Titan also offers what Nissan calls "the industry's first factory-applied, fully-warranted spray-in bedliner to prevent scratches and corrosion."
The first Titan, which was driven off the line with the help of Canton, Miss., Mayor Fred Esco, Jr., will be donated to the City of Canton for use by its Public Works Department.
"We are glad that the home of the first Titan will always be the place where it was born," said Boyer. "We know it will be a tough, dependable addition to the City of Canton."
Nissan also announced that even though Titan doesn't go on sale officially until Dec. 1, it already has its first customer. Bill Yates, chairman of the Mississippi-based Yates Construction Co., will be purchasing 100 Titans from Nissan dealerships for use at his company's job sites.
Nissan's Canton plant is a $1.43 billion, 3.5 million square foot facility situated on approximately 1,400 acres about 15 miles north of Jackson, Miss. It has the capacity to build up to 400,000 vehicles per year.
In addition to the Quest, Pathfinder Armada and Titan, early next year, the Canton plant will begin producing the first Infiniti vehicle -- a full-size SUV -- built in the U.S. It will also eventually supplement the production of the Nissan Altima mid-size sedan, also produced at Nissan's award-winning Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant.
Nissan has invested about $4 billion in its three U.S. manufacturing facilities. In addition to Canton, the Smyrna plant builds the Maxima sports sedan, Xterra compact SUV, Frontier compact trucks as well as the Altima. In Decherd, Tenn., Nissan builds engines for all U.S.-produced vehicles and assembles transaxles. For the past nine years, Nissan's manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tenn., were named as the most efficient in North America by the Harbour Report.
In North America, NNA's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.