Japan’s automakers had an easy way taking a huge chunk of the US auto market decades ago, showcasing their well-known quality, reliability and overall reputation.
The only segment they had a tough time meeting their own expectations was the pickup truck sector, where the Detroit three continue to assert their domination to the day – thanks to the Ford F-150, Chevy and GMC duo and Chrysler’s Ram series. But, with the customers showing an increasing appetence for the gas-guzzling trucks once again, the Japanese automakers won’t stand by and look from the sideline. And Detroit’s 2015 edition of the North American International Auto Show wasn’t just about electric cars such as the Chevrolet Bolt concept or dream-like supercars such as the Ford GT and Acura NSX. It was also very much about Toyota and Nissan’s new pickup introductions.
They did, however, have different strategies – Nissan touted the new 2016 Titan XD, a model that sits above the regular Titan and wants to find a niche between the traditional heavy-duty and light-duty models. It boasts the capabilities of larger competitors – hauls 2,000 pounds and tows up to 12,000 pounds – but also brings the price tag and fuel efficiency from the lower category. It’s also built around a new Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel to match the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
Toyota on the other hand, is the undisputed US king of the mid-sized truck category thanks to its Tacoma – but feels the pressure from the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon siblings. The Japanese company has been the dominant player for the past decade and the race was a one-two affair between the Tacoma and second-placed Nissan Frontier.