It seems there is nothing that can’t be crowdsourced these days, cable channels do it for houses and Nissan is doing it for Project Titan: a customized 2014 Titan that will be modified by popular vote and driven by two Wounded Warriors this summer.
In fact, the project has already begun with the first round of voting on Nissan’s Facebook page. The maker is offering up three different suspension systems to be installed on the truck: Access-Oriented, Balanced Capability and High Articulation suspensions.
The early voting shows the High Articulation option with the early lead.
“Tough call,” wrote one Facebook poster. “(Access Oriented) is out of the question, I’d go (High Articulation) though because of where they’ll be going. They’ll need that articulation.”
Where they’re going this summer is the Alaskan wilderness. David Guzman and Kevin McMahon will embark on a multi-day trek that will put the veterans and the vehicle to the test. Nissan will document their adventure and produce a YouTube series launching in September.
“This is going to be one incredible adventure,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations U.S. “The Nissan Titan is already well-equipped to tackle a trip into the wilderness, but we are going to push this custom-built version to its limits to give these fearless Warriors all they can handle and memories they will never forget.”
The Titan will be put through its paces, in particular, its cargo carrying flexibility. The truck will be loaded with an array of outdoor recreational and survival equipment. With a maximum towing capacity of 9,500 pounds, a sliding bed extender, the Utili-track Bed Channel System for optimum cargo hauling and a lockable bedside storage compartment, the Titan’s functionality will be tested.
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The Titan is the second vehicle Nissan has crowdsourced. In 2012, the automaker implemented Project 370Z.
Perhaps just as importantly, the modified truck is going to provide some input into the next generation Titan, according to the automaker.
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“Projects like this allow us to gather input directly from industry leading media members and those companies that embrace an outdoor lifestyle in their work and play, helping us deliver trucks that buyers want to own,” Diaz said earlier this year.
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Nissan, like other Japanese automakers, is lagging U.S. automakers in truck sales: a revamp of the Titan could be the first step toward reversing that trend.
Some of the changes have already been announced, including the next-generation Nissan Titan will be offered with an optional Cummins 5.0-liter V-8 turbo-diesel, a choice that has become increasingly popular with buyers who want maximum towing and hauling capability but don’t necessarily want the fuel economy hit of a big gas-powered V-8.
The new model won’t come soon enough. The original Titan was introduced in late 2003, making it today the oldest full-size model on the market. Chrysler replaced its Ram for 2013, winning honors as the North American Truck of the Year, then following with an updated diesel edition for 2014 that went on to win the Motor Trend Truck of the Year. Chevrolet launched its new Silverado last autumn, taking the North American Truck of the Year trophy for this year.