New Trucks Aim At Detroit: 2016 Tacoma, Titan Teased for NAIAS

December 17, 2014

Beware, Chevy, Ford, GMC, and Ram truck fans: Both Nissan and Toyota have chosen the heart of the domestic auto industry—Detroit—for the world debut of completely new pickups.

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The two models, to be introduced at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) next month, are the 2016 Nissan Titan and 2016 Toyota Tacoma. And in both cases, choosing Detroit appears part of a move to underscore that these trucks are indeed American products.

Teaser shots of 2016 Toyota Tacoma

Teaser shots of 2016 Toyota Tacoma

In two teasers for the next-generation 2016 Toyota Tacoma, the automaker shows taillamps with squared-off, sharper-edged details, as well as a chunky, creased Tacoma badge pressed into the srea below the tailgate. Another shows a closeup of a new hexagonal grille, flanked by finely detailed headlamps with what appears to be LED accents.

Based on what we see here, expect the Tacoma to be more macho in its design, and even more of a mid-size truck. The automaker notes that the model “will be ready to once again set the benchmark for midsize pickup performance.”

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The Tacoma got its last full redesign in 2004—at a time when compact trucks were on the way out, arguably. Since then, there’s been a resurgence of interest in compact trucks, so we’re curious to see how Toyota balances this temptation to ‘super-size’ their once compact truck line, without sacrificing the maneuverability and manageability sought by some truck shoppers.

Nissan pushing the American pedigree of Titan

As for the Nissan Titan full-size pickup family, it’s just as dated, and what Nissan expected to become a popular, high volume model never got close to threatening the sales dominance of Chevy and Ford. The long-awaited second generation model could carve out a bigger piece of the market, if it's done right, to better meet the needs of pickup shoppers.

Although the Titan teaser says very little about the truck itself—just “engineered in Michigan, tested in Arizona” and “assembled in Mississippi, powered by Tennessee”—we’re expecting this truck to be dramatically different than the current version, which has fallen behind in many important respects, like interior appointments and fuel economy.

Nissan especially pushes the Titan’s American pedigree. The model’s development was overseen by Nissan Americas’ headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, while Nissan Technical Center North America has done the majority of engineering, with testing in Stanfield, Arizona. The 2016 Titan will be built in Canton, Misssissippi, as is the case for the current model.

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Cummins turbo-diesel V-8 eagerly anticipated

And, for the first time, the Titan will offer an available diesel engine. Nissan footnotes the video’s release with the #CumminsSoon hashtag, also noting in the video, “Cummins engine, Indiana.”

That engine will be the 5.0-liter turbo-diesel V-8, which will itself be built in Columbus, Indiana. The V-8 diesel will produce more than 300 horsepower and approximately 550 pound-feet of torque and, Cummins says, “will provide light truck customers the combination of towing capacity and mileage that is expected in the highly-competitive North American truck marketplace.”

We expect both brands to release more teasers and feature details before then, so check back for that, as well as coverage of both reveals at the Detroit show in January.

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