Pickup trucks are alive and well in the automotive world, as evidenced by two separate announcements from heavy players in the light truck market, Nissan and Ram, that will ensure the growth of the segment in coming years.
Nissan has announced that its Canton, Mississippi built Titan full-sized truck will become available in regular cab bodystyle for the coming model year, available in late fall 2016. This will mark the first ever regular cab in Titan’s history, as the company pushes into the contractor and fleet markets.
The 2017 Nissan Single Cab models will come in Titan and Titan XD versions (both with 8-foot beds), with both powered by standard 390-hp 5.6-litre V-8s (offering 394 lb-ft of torque), with the Titan XD also having the availability of the 310-hp 5.0-litre turbodiesel V-8 (with 555 lb-ft of torque). The trucks will be available in 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains, with power transferred by automatic transmissions (6-speed for the diesel, 7-speed for the gasoline engine).
“Once we complete the roll-out of all TITAN cab, bed, powertrain and grade level configurations, our all-new TITAN family will cover about 85% of the total light pickup marketplace,” said Rich Miller, Nissan North America’s director of Product Planning for Trucks, SUVs and Commercial Vehicles, in addition to being the chief product specialist for TITAN and TITAN XD. “More importantly, the TITAN XD and TITAN single cabs will have the power, torque, heavy duty chassis and durability demanded by today's demanding worksites – including the highest towing capacities and payloads in the lineup.”
The other major full-sized pickup announcement came from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), relating to the investment of $1.48 billion US in the Sterling Heights (Michigan) plant that builds the Ram brand of pickups (in particular the next generation Ram 1500 due within the next couple years).
The plant also currently builds the Chrysler 200 compact sedan, and that will end in December 2016 in order to retool the plant for concentrated production of the Ram 1500, with the company also expecting to make a further announcement concerning Ram pickups’ factory in Warren, Michigan.
The new investment brings the total investment by FCA in North American facilities since 2009 to $8.3 billon.