Ford’s exit from pickup segment fueled Nissan Frontier sales

Article by Anita Panait, on January 6, 2012

Nissan North America was only too eager to fill the gap left when Ford Motor Co. withdrew from the U.S. compact pickup market. Ford disclosed plans to exit the U.S. compact pickup segment in 2011, and it had built its last U.S. Ranger in December."We felt it was an opportunity to capture market share and we went after it last year, and we went after it without increasing incentives," Al Castignetti, Nissan Division's U.S. sales chief.

Nissan has commenced an ad campaign to promote the Frontier as a cheaper alternative to full-sized pickups.  Following Ford’s exit plans disclosure in 2011, Nissan posted a 28% increase in U.S. sales of the Frontier sales to 51,700 units. The company also posted a 17% hike in U.S. sales of cars and trucks to 944,073 cars.

Ford, meanwhile, logged a 28% increase in U.S. sales of the Ranger to 70,832 units, outselling Nissan at the same segment. Ford’s F-series also outsold Nissan’s Titan at full-sized pickup segment by 22,000 units at 585,000.

The Nissan Frontier is able to keep the lead in the mid-size truck, with its ability to combine off-road athleticism with excellent power and premium hardware. Already considered as a pickup that offers no compromises, it appears that this impressive package is getting a new treatment with the 2009 Frontier. Changes include the front fascia grille with the headlight having a new design.

New as well are the 16-inch wheels and the 18-inch versions being offered. For body styles, the Frontier will come in either the Crew Cab or the King Cab. Driveline configurations on the other hand will either be in a 4x2 or the 4x4. Offered as well will be the PRO-4X off-road. Additionally, a Frontier Crew Cab LE/PRO-4X Value Truck Packages, or VTP, will be offered as well and in it will come the wide selection popular equipment (which is optional).

However, these specs deliver better value compared to buying them individually. According to Al Castignetti, who is Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.’s General Manager and Vice-President, the Frontier has the style and capability one would expect from a full-sized truck. It also comes with versatility, excellent comfort for the interior, and exceptional off-road performance.

It was designed and created for people who have an active lifestyle, especially those who adore the outdoors, he added. This was also made for people who simply want their experience maximized, continued Castignetti. With the package being offered, he said further, this makes enjoying the new Frontier that much easier. Though it is a mid-sized vehicle, the new Frontier follows the Titan and a number of its full-size features.

This includes how the exterior has been styled in an adventurous, expressive, and strong manner. As mentioned, the front fascia and the grille, and even the new headlight, comes in a new design. Even then it continues to have many of the features seen in a Nissan truck like the large bumpers, overhangs in the front and the rear section made short, and the large geometric fender flares stamped in steel.

Powering the Frontier is the DOHC 4.0-liter V6 engine which delivers horsepower and torque that are the best in its segment. It also has the best payload specifications and towing capability. Fuel efficiency shows good figures with the King Cab 2WD rating at 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.

This makes the Frontier good to use either in play or even in work. While the LE variant will come in the aluminum-alloy 18-inch wheels with the SE version fitted with the aluminum -alloy 16-inch wheels. For the PRO-4X models, it will have the aluminum -alloy 16-inch wheels with a machine finish. Two colors will be available to choose from starting in 2009 which are Navy Blue and Red Brick. Like the previous models before it, the Frontier was manufactured through the company’s facility located in Smyrna, Tennessee.

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