Nissan's campaign to launch the American-bred Titan jumbo truck locally is gathering steam, with the brand's Australian MD having just returned from a meeting with the global commercial vehicle team in Japan where he pushed his case.
But while Nissan Australia's boss, Stephen Lester, is campaigning for factory-delivered right-hand-drive vehicles, he says he is so convinced the Titan would succeed here, he hasn't ruled out local left- to right-hand-drive conversions performed locally, much like the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado.
"We’re still making progress," he told CarsGuide. "I’ve been to Japan very recently meeting with the global LCV team again to look at it. We’re continuing to knock down the objections.
"I think we’re seeing the market continue to grow, which is a good sign for us. And so I think we’re going to keep pushing at it.
"I’m absolutely convinced there’s a tremendous market for it. There’s no question. You only have to look at what Australians in general are interested in driving, and then juxtapose that against the infrastructure, in terms of roads. You can see very clearly we have all the capability from an infrastructure standpoint to be ale to handle full-size pick-up trucks.
"Let’s face it, there’s a tremendous appetite for a lifestyle vehicle, a farm vehicle, a trade vehicle, a tow vehicle."
The Titan has proved success in America, where the brand has sold well over 100,000 vehicles since it made its debut in 2016. In the USA, the Titan arrives in two size options; the standard Titan (which measures 5.79m in length, 2.01m in width and over 1.9m in height, and is the vehicle Nissan in Australia wants), and a bigger XD variant.
Both are powered by a petrol or diesel V8 engine, but given the overwhelming success of the petrol-powered Ram 1500, it is expected Nissan would push for the petrol option, at least initially.
The 5.6-litre petrol engine produces 290kW and 534Nm, while the 5.0-litre diesel is good for 231kW and a tectonic plate-shifting 752Nm. You're also staring down the barrel of a monstrous maximum braked towing capacity of more than five tonnes.
The success of the re-manufactured Ram 1500 (and to a lesser extent, the Chevrolet Silverado) in Australia has not been lost on Nissan, with Mr Lester telling CarsGuide that he'd "take it any way that he could get it", including the possibility of a right-hand-drive conversion performed locally once the vehicle had landed here.
"At this point I think the opportunity in the market is so good I would take it any way that I could get it," he says.
"I think we do have the capability in Australia (to perform conversions), other brands have proven that already, and the market exists already.
"I don’t see local conversion as being a barrier or a non-starter, and I certainly wouldn’t let that impede out passion for pursuing Titan."
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