Nissan is the new underdog in full-sized pickups. While the Titan has been on the market for a few years now, it has not gained the kind of sales traction that would make it a contender compared to the huge sales numbers that Ford, General Motors, Ram Trucks, and Toyota have. As the newest newcomer to the mass market pickup truck field, though, Nissan has one advantage: consumer focus.
It's well-established that the larger a group gets, such as a group of buyers for a specific vehicle, the less say each individual purchaser has in the process. This creates niche markets, such as the opening that Nissan sees in the half-ton pickup field for a larger-capability diesel engine offering, as we revealed in our one-on-one interview with their Titan department (read that here).
During the design process for the next-generation Titan, Nissan has taken a very consumer-centric approach, showing up in various scenarios with truck buyers in both the consumer and commercial arenas, and getting direct feedback on the truck as it is and what can be improved for the next iteration of it.
The first of those was when the Nissan Titan's chief product development engineer took it to his family ranch in Idaho and let friends and neighbors give input on the truck (see it here). That resulted in some good input, Nissan says, so they went ahead with more of the same. This time taking the 2014 Nissan Titan to the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas - the largest and most popular of outdoor shows focusing on shooting sports and law enforcement.
Project Titan, as Nissan calls it, uses a combination of events like the above and social media to create the features and options that potential Titan buyers will want for the truck. It works in a way very similar to Project 370Z, which tailored that popular car to enthusiasts the world over.
Through the #ProjectTitan hash tag on Twitter and direct feedback from events like the SHOT Show and the trip to Idaho, the new Titan is being designed. Nissan plans on doing more of these events going forward as well.
To see the results of the SHOT Show outreach, see the video below, which highlights feedback from journalists and consumers: