Nissan is amped about the emerging battle going on in the midsize pickup truck market, a segment that it’s been in for years.
But the recent activity in the segment with the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon and updated Toyota Tacoma has spilled to the Nissan Frontier as well, with its sales increasing by 47 percent last year.
However, midsize truck shoppers will definitely notice the Frontier’s distinct lack of modern touches in comparison to the competition. The truck has been riding on the same platform since 2005, internally called the D40.
Nissan actually has a far more up-to-date midsize truck for markets outside North America. Called the Navara, it features a newer platform that could easily work as a Frontier replacement; that is, if Nissan North America thinks it’s up to the task.
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“The Frontier has a future. Trucks are in our DNA, we’ve been doing them for a long time,” said Christian Meunier, senior vice president at Nissan North America during a roundtable discussion at the New York Auto Show. “We’ll do something better than the Navara,” he said, adding that the Navara is a bit more of a lifestyle vehicle, “like a Honda Ridgeline.”
“We like real trucks,” he added.
A major element to Nissan’s truck strategy has come with the addition of Mitsubishi Motors to the Renault-Nissan alliance. Nissan acquired Mitsubishi Motors back in October for a whopping $2.3 billion and one of the areas in which the brands can collaborate is trucks. Mitsubishi, like Nissan, has a strong truck presence in overseas markets, with a reputation for tough, rugged vehicles. “It’s in our DNA,” Meunier repeated, while suggesting the pickup truck expertise could be shared between the two brands of the alliance.
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