Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
From cold steel to a rolling pickup – Nissan details construction of the new Titan pickup.
Production of the Nissan Titan and Titan XD is fully under way at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi assembly plant. To celebrate, Nissan has released a short video called “Steel to Wheels” that highlights the plant, the assembly process, and the people that built the trucks.
Just like the video title suggests, the process starts as huge rolls of steel are unwound and stamped into doors, hoods, and beds to form the basic body structure. From there, the panels move into the body shop where the pieces are assembled together. The cab and bed are built separately before coming together just before the painting process begins.
In paint, workers closely inspect the bare metal, shaving off any imperfections with a grinder wheel. The bodies are then dunked in a cleaning solution that removes any oil, fingerprints, or debris before being primed with rust prohibitor. Paint is then applied in either a solid color or two-tone scheme. Those trucks with two-tone paint jobs spend extra time in the paint department since both colors have to be added separately. Another round of close inspections are done, looking for any type of imperfection in the body or paint.
From there, the Titan and Titan XD roll to the trim line. It’s here that the interiors are installed, including the carpet, headliner, dashboard, seats, and windows. It takes many workers during this stage, as most of the parts are installed by hand using pneumatic tools. With the body and interior assembled, the trucks meat up with the chassis, which is merging from its own assembly line were suspension and drivetrain components are added.
A massive cradle lowers the truck bodies onto the complete chassis. Workers then connect all the wiring harnesses, hoses, and tubes between the two sections. From here, final pieces like the grille, headlights, wheels, and tires are added. Workers then test all the computer systems to verify each are working properly. The trucks are then started for the first time, before driving off the assembly line.
Each Titan is put though its paces on a short road course where inspectors listen for any squeaks or rattles and look for any other anomalies. From there, each truck is loaded onto a transport truck for delivery to Nissan dealerships nationwide.
Erik Fields, the director of engineering for the Canton assembly plant, makes an interesting observation near the end of the video: every Titan truck has been built in the Canton assembly plant. Since Nissan introduced the first-generation Titan in 2003, every Titan calls Mississippi home.
Be sure to watch the video for all the details.
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Why It Matters
The Nissan Titan is the newest full-size truck in the American market – both in terms of its latest complete overhaul and that it’s the last full-size truck to get its start in the market. Products from Ford, Chevy, and Dodge/Ram can trace their roots back more than 60 years. Even the Toyota Tundra was introduced three years before the Titan came out.
Nevertheless, Nissan is committed to gaining ground on the establishment, stealing sales away from the big three and its neighboring Japanese rival. The 2016 Titan XD and the 2017 Titan half-ton are a compete re-think of the Titan pickup, with added interior space, a revised gasoline powertrain, an all-new turbodiesel option, greater capabilities, and more cab and bed choices to meet market demands.
It’ll be interesting to watch how well the Titan and Titan XD penetrate the U.S. pickup market.