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Nissan Titan pick-up still a chance for Australia

The on-again off-again plans to bring Titan to Australia are back on-again
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The Nissan Titan pick-up has been given new hope of coming to Australia, after being ruled in and out for local introduction over the past two years.

Nissan Australia boss Steve Lester says the company has not given up on getting the Nissan Titan into local showrooms – and has been buoyed by the success of the Ram 1500, which until recently was only available with petrol V8.

“We’ve had a lot of productive meetings,” said Mr Lester. “It’s been around the globe (the US factory and Japan head office) as far as the proposal goes. There is no shortage of work that we’re constantly doing to try to convince the powers that be that we’ve got an opportunity.”

Nissan Australia is currently exploring two options: it still has not given up on a factory-built right-hand drive model but is also studying a local conversion by Premcar, the company that previously engineered and built Ford Performance Vehicles and which will soon release a top-end version of the Nissan Navara.

“There are two ways to look at it,” said Mr Lester. “Trying to get the factory to agree to do right-hand-drive... and there’s another (option) that would suggest, well you’re converting left-hand-drive vehicles anyway in Australia, how could we do that?”

Mr Lester said that while “always best would be everything off the (production) line” local conversion is an option.

“We have got an incredible amount of capability here in the local Australian market, let’s get behind it and do it ourselves,” said Mr Lester. “There is certainly opportunity to do that. I would like to think that as this (top end Navara) has come to life now, it strengthens our case in a demonstrable way of being able to say ... 'here’s what we can do'.”

When asked if the lack of a diesel engine would dent the Titan’s chances of being introduced locally (the diesel option has been deleted in the US), Mr Lester said: “When you look at where the real volume is in the (US pick-up) market locally, it’s still by and large petrol versions.”

“Would it be great to have the diesel Cummins in Australia? Of course,” he said. “However the reality is the petrol V8 would go perfectly well and we’ve demonstrated that with Patrol sales … we’ve still be able to grow sales in that segment.”

When asked to rank the chances of the Nissan Titan being introduced locally, Mr Lester said: “I’m not a gambling man.”