Sources Reveal New Details About The Next Nissan Titan
By: Mike Levine Posted: 05-02-08 08:03 PT
© 2008

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Last month Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Company jointly announced Chrysler would build the next iteration of Nissan's Titan half-ton pickup at Chrysler’s plant in Saltillo, Mexico, based on the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. Nissan reps said the new Titan would retain certain styling and performance elements to differentiate it from the Ram but no specifics were provided. Now, sources have told some of those details, plus information about a heavy duty version of the Titan.

Externally, the Titan half-ton will share its doors and roof panel with the all-new Ram, while the rest of the Titan's sheetmetal will be unique and designed by Nissan.

Like the current Titan, the future truck will offer only two cab configurations, extended cab and crew cab, even though the 2009 Ram will have a regular cab option. The Titan will also receive Dodge's new 'RamBox' storage feature, which adds dry lockable space to the sides of the cargo box, and it will share the Ram’s innovative new coil sprung rear suspension.

The current Nissan Titan is only available with a 5.6-liter V8 but the next Titan will offer a wide range of Chrysler-sourced engine choices, including a 3.7-L V6, a 4.7-L V8 and *likely* the 5.7-L 'HEMI' V8, instead of Nissan's next-generation 5.6-L 'Endurance' V8. The HEMI's simpler overhead valve (aka pushrod) construction and lower cost materials are expected to save several hundred dollars versus the dual overhead cam 5.6-L V8. Cutting costs is critical in the increasingly price sensitive full size truck market. Using the HEMI would also set the Titan up to share the Ram's two-mode hybrid powertrain – fuel economy being another highly important purchase consideration.

Nissan is expected to continue to offer the Endurance V8 in its other vehicles, like the Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56 full size SUVs, but split into two power classes, depending on brand. Those with Nissan badges will receive a 400-hp version while Infiniti will receive a high output 450-hp to 455-hp version.

The Ram and Titan will also share the upcoming, Cummins-built V8 light duty diesel engine, expected for the Ram in 2010.

Nissan also announced plans in April to build three all-new light commercial vehicles at its Canton, Mississippi factory, where the Titan is built today. According to our sources, one of those vehicles will be a heavy duty pickup that will be totally unique to Nissan – no parts will be shared with the Dodge Ram.

The HD Titan will come in three-quarter-ton and one-ton models. Single and dual rear wheel versions are also expected. A concept HD Titan is expected to appear in January 2009 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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