Why Is the 2020 Nissan Titan a Sales Flop?

The 2020 Nissan Titan competes in one of the most cutthroat segments of the auto industry. As far as full-size pickup trucks go, you have the established favorites from Ford, Chevy, and Ram. However, even the aging Toyota Tundra has managed to carve a lane for itself. However, the Nissan Titan, on the other hand, has severely struggled to impress U.S. buyers. According to CarSalesBase, the Titan is the worst-selling large pickup truck in the U.S.

Only 19,304 Nissan Titan trucks sold in Q1-Q3 of 2020

During the first three quarters of 2020, U.S. buyers pulled the trigger on approximately 1,678,046 brand-new pickup trucks, says CarSalesBase. The Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado make up over a million of those sales. At the bottom of the list, however, sits the 2020 Nissan Titan. Just 19,403 of Nissan’s full-size truck found new homes in the first three quarters of 2020.

The COVID-19 global pandemic plays a role in declining pickup truck sales. For example, 11 percent fewer Ford F-Series trucks were sold during the same time period than in 2019. In terms of the Nissan Titan, sales are down 24 percent in comparison with 2019. It is worth noting that the global pandemic’s untimely arrival comes just after Nissan announced major changes for the model at the end of 2019. The result is that the already struggling truck is now facing a serious lack of sales.

The Titan struggles to be reliable according to Consumer Reports

2020 Nissan TITAN Platinum Reserve
2020 Nissan TITAN Platinum Reserve | Nissan

Since the Nissan Titan’s sales were struggling well before the pandemic’s arrival, there must be something scaring away U.S. buyers. According to Consumer Reports, the Nissan Titan scored very poorly in both the predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction categories during its owners’ survey. Given that many truck buyers base their purchasing decision on both power and reliability, this is a major category to fail in. The result is that buyers report low satisfaction due to widespread issues.

Reliability issues aside, the Nissan Titan managed to impress during Consumer Reports’ road test. The full-size truck managed to impress during the acceleration, transmission, braking, and comfort categories. However, it is worth pointing out that the truck struggled severely in the fuel-economy section. During Consumer Reports’ testing, the 5.6-liter V8 powered truck managed to consume 11 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

Can an electric powertrain turn things around?

A new 2020 Nissan Titan on display at an auto show
The 2020 Nissan Titan on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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To change the Nissan Titan’s fate, the Japanese carmaker could be on the verge of implementing a radical powertrain change. According to CarBuzz, Nissan may be looking to electrify the Titan with the help of Hercules Electric Vehicles. CarBuzz reports that the upcoming arrival of both the all-electric Ford F-150 and the GMC Hummer EV are likely pressuring Nissan to reinvent the truck to maintain its relevance. When you add the quickness with which the GMC sold out its first batch, the demand is certainly there.

Since Hercules is already developing its own fully-electric pickup truck, Nissan’s investment could easily see some of that tech make it into the Titan. For now, the two companies are in talks of making the powertrain swap happen. Given the Titan’s struggles, a bit of electrification could be just what it needs to survive.