Ghosn’s Ghost: The Titan
As the coach reminds his players in the movie, “Remember the Titans,” the Titans of legend ruled the field of combat.
Well, not so the Nissan Titan – which is far from ruling the light truck market.
So, apparently the boss of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, is thinking of bailing – dumping the Titan entirely. As quoted by Newsweek, Ghosn says that "The name of the game is going to be more fuel-efficient cars. And when you make your product plans for the future, you can’t say, ’I’ve always had a pickup truck, so I’ll just keep improving it.’ If you can’t make it profitably, you have to get out."
Nissan officials say there are no immediate plans to drop the Titan, but it appears they may be far from ‘in the loop.” As Chief Executive Officer of both Nissan and Renault, it’s majority owner, Ghosn IS the loop.
The pieces actually seem to fit:
First, Toyota has taken a real beating on the Tundra, with dismal sales, huge rebates, and the embarrassment that accompanies predicting success and achieving failure. The formula for selling trucks doesn’t appear to be as easily decoded as the Japanese manufacturers may have thought.
Second, the Titan will soon be the oldest truck on the market, as Dodge and Ford both introduce entirely new models next year. The only way that Nissan can make a stab at competing in the market in the future is to match the all-new platforms of the competition. But, if that platform isn’t already under development, it will be impossible for Nissan to bring a new truck to market in time.
Third, trucks aren’t really consistent with the image which Nissan has been attempting to create for itself. Nissan has effectively concentrated on sporty, nimble and somewhat luxurious automobiles, not on large vehicles. Their product trend in large vehicles is more in the direction of crossovers than SUVs. The Titan is a distraction from the company’s core product image.
The report gives some hint of the thinking at Nissan, following reports that Nissan and Chrysler are in talks about developing certain products, including trucks and engines, in a joint venture arrangement. Ghosn has been severely criticized for low profits at Nissan, and has promised to do better. In the meantime, Nissan sales have stalled in both the United States and Japan, as Ghosn, in his guise as Renault CEO, looks for “strategic alliances” with domestic American manufacturers to assist in the company’s efforts in the United States.