The Nissan Frontier will officially hit the production line, according to the Japanese automaker. They also confirmed that the mid-size pickup truck will be assembled at the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant in Mississippi. Despite this confirmation, the automaker did not say when the production will begin, but this is a sign that change is on its way.
Vice President of Manufacturing at the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant, Steve Marsh, said that their employees in Canton are excited to build the next generation Frontier, considering it to be one of the best pickup trucks in America.
We have not received many details from Nissan with regards to the pickup’s new design. But if we remember correctly, back in 2014, the Frontier Diesel Runner Concept was introduced and it indicates the possibility of a diesel engine in the lineup. If that pushes through, the Frontier will probably be equipped with a Cummins-sourced 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel that can give out as much as 200 horsepower (149 kilowatts) and more than 350 pound-feet (474 Newton-metres) of torque.
Looking at today’s trend, it seems like the mid-size pickup segment is booming in the United States. Some of the Nissan Frontier’s competitors would be the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and the Ford Ranger. However, we cannot really say that these models will compete against the Frontier because the current model dates back to 2005, and it does not have modern features that the other brands can flaunt.
Having said that, the current Frontier’s platform might be dangerous to driver safety. In fact, the Frontier had the worst performance during a recent test done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as it had to do a round of crash tests. It got a marginal score (a level above the lowest grade) in the agency’s small-overlap crash test. The pickup also did not have a front crash prevention system, and the headlights were poorly rated as well. In today’s standards, the outgoing Frontier will definitely not protect the driver from a serious car crash.
What we find interesting is the fact that Nissan is still developing a next generation Frontier, after the company found a loss of interest from buyers. For instance, sales from January to August 2017 are down by 18.9 percent, selling only 50,097 units compared to last year’s 61,792. That’s not much compared to Chevrolet selling 71,763 units of the Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma selling more than double at 129,362 units.
Currently, the Nissan Canton plant is in charge of building models like Murano, Titan, Titan XD, NV Cargo and NV Passenger. There are about 6,400 employees who work there and they deliver around 450,000 vehicles annually.