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Nissan’s Diesel Experiment


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This time last year Nissan shocked the truck world when it announced a plan to team up with Cummins in order to produce a lineup of diesel powered trucks. Over the last couple of years Ford and Ram have been fighting over producing the most fuel efficient pickup truck on the market. Nissan effectively threw its hat in the ring by introducing their concept for a diesel engine in their full size Titan, but also in their smaller Frontier model. Nissan’s diesel experiment could thrust the brand as a frontrunner when it comes to the truck market.

The Diesel Frontiernissan

Nissan’s diesel Frontier is only a concept right now with a few mule prototypes in existence. The truck is boasting a Cummins 2.8 liter turbo diesel six cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower an 350 pounds of torque with an eight speed transmission. The truck itself is boasting up to 7,000 pounds of towing and will average 22 miles per gallon city and 30 miles per gallon highway which is virtually unheard of in power and fuel economy within the smaller truck category when compared to the last 20 years of small pickup trucks. The Frontier Diesel Desert Runner concept was first introduced when it appeared at the Chicago Auto Show in Chicago in February. Unlike the diesels that are being offered by both Ford and Ram, the availability of the diesel engine is not yet available in a 4 wheel drive version of the Frontier. Should the relationship between Nissan and Cummins continue to flourish, the technology behind both of these companies would allow for a superior product to hit the streets and allow customers to achieve better gas mileage and not have to give up the practicality of a pickup truck that has hurt consumers in the past. Currently Nissan has not officially committed to the building of diesel Frontiers for the commercial and non commercial uses, but many industry analysts believe that the company is not showing off their prototypes as a muscle flexing tactic. Industry analysts believe that Nissan has the intention to build these trucks on a massive scale, but are continuing on testing the technology first, before being able to introduce it into the market. The company has officially given no position on when or if the truck will be mass produced and at what cost to the consumer. Many believe the truck will start out at around 30,000 dollars. The truck that was on display at the Chicago Auto Show is exactly what is described as a mule prototype which is by Nissan standards nothing close to or representative of what would be the finished product that consumers would be exposed to.

nissan 2Benefits to the Cummins Engines

For Americans, the benefits of Cummins engines would hold a bit of pride close to the heart because Cummins prefers to build their engines where there is intent to sell. So if Nissan were to put Cummins engines into their pickup trucks, those engines would be produced domestically. Also the benefits of a Cummins diesel engine has other sometimes overlooked benefits that would help sales in the US. For instance when one hears the name Cummins, the name rings on a tone of professionalism and long standing history within the diesel technology category. The company is one of the most iconic supplier of power and fuel efficiency when it comes to diesel technology. Cummins has also been considering certain physical changes to the engine that would go into the Frontier model lineup that could help ease on engine weight and further better gas mileage. Fuel efficiency is a big winner when it comes to pickup trucks because in the current lineup of trucks available across the board, all of the pickup trucks available for purchase perform the same, it currently just comes down to brand preference. Should Cummins and Nissan actually pair up for the purpose of building diesel pickup trucks to be sold on the mass market, the results could be staggering for Nissan. The Frontier lineup has in recent months done rather well as it is the second highest selling small pickup truck on the market, just behind the Toyota Tacoma. The reason behind this is that the American companies like Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet have all pulled their smaller pickup trucks off the market in the US. The Chevrolet and GMC small pickup is set to return later this fall but will not offer the fuel efficiency that can be achieved by a diesel.

Should Nissan and Cummins give the green light and start building diesel powered pickup trucks at an affordable a reasonable price, Nissan’s overall profits might shoot up. While the figures of success are currently unknown, it is very possible that in the smaller truck market, the diesel Frontier could overtake the Toyota Tacoma and become the most popular selling small pickup in the US.

 

 

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