This comes after a report in May claimed that the brand had u-turned on comments made last year that the Canton, Mississippi made Titan won’t be coming to right-hooking countries, as the initiating of a business case and subsequent conversion process would not be finically viable.
Speaking to drive.com.au though, Nissan Chief Product Planning Manager, Pedro de Anda, said a decision on whether the Titan will come with the steering gear on the right is expected to be made in the coming years, more than likely only when the next generation bows.
“I cannot tell you a timeframe or which markets [Titan will be available in] as up until now the focus has been launching in the US. There is no deadline but the sooner you do it the better, when you get too close to the end of a life-cycle it is better to wait for the next one. So, the sooner those things and decisions happen it is usually the better,” de Anda told the online publication.
“We have that intention to take Titan beyond the North American market and yes we have started seriously in several markets we’re entering but I can’t tell you which ones we’ve started and where it’s going or not. It could be left, or it could be right, right is more challenging because there is no way you can share it with Europe to be honest. In Europe the roads are just too small and narrow to have a Titan”.
Identifying Australia and the Middle East as markets where the Titan has shown the most interest, de Anda stated that, “Even if there is no volume and there is a need and a business opportunity, you know [we could build in right-hand drive]”.
“The thing with these factory conversions is that in the end, the one same vehicle is never the same. Nissan has to make sure whoever does it has to meet the Nissan standards, it has to meet the regulatory too of course because the liability is with us. So it wouldn’t be easier, I don’t think, to do it through a third party and meet the same standards,” he said, taking a thinly veiled swipe at the Chevrolet Silverado converted and sold in Australia by Holden’s Special Vehicles division.
“We know there are these companies that do it that are mostly employees of former plants. So they have knowledge about the local industry, some have approached us but at the moment we have no business with them. One OEM is doing conversions through them”.
Aside from the Titan, Ford has also suggested that the next generation F150 could be made in right-hand drive due to the introduction of the diesel model last year and demand from Australia and South Africa, while Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) owned Ram, whose range of pick-ups are converted by Ateco Automotive for sale Down Under, has made similar remarks again as a result of demand.
In South Africa, Rams have been converted to right-hand drive since 2006 via Richards Bay based US Truck Sales, which, unlike Ateco, does without the full-blacking of FCA South Africa.
IMAGE sourced from caranddriver.com