The redesigned 2016 Nissan Titan pickup launched at the Detroit auto show last month to buzz that it bore similarities to Ford's popular F-150.
But a resemblance between the Titan and the F-150 was never part of the plan, Fred Diaz, Nissan's senior vice president for U.S. sales and marketing and operations, told Automotive News at the Chicago auto show.
"It never crossed my mind. I never thought of it," Diaz said when asked about the F-150 comparison. "I can tell you that I never once uttered the F-word to those guys. You know, 'We should make it more Ford-like.' I did make some suggestions from a design standpoint that I think made the truck stronger and bolder and gave it a huskier, heavier look than it originally had."
Unlike Ford, which invested $1 billion into a metal changeover for the F-150, Nissan did not consider going the aluminum route to make the pickup lighter, an executive told AutoWorldNews in November.
"We don't see a need for it," said John Martin, Nissan North America's senior vice president for manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing. "With high-tensile steel, you can get the weight down just as effectively."
Expected to arrive in the fall, the Titan is available with a 5-liter, 310-horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque turbodiesel engine that is good for more than 12,000 pounds of towing, according to the automaker. V-6 and V-8 gas engines will also be options.
The pickup's "huskier" look gives it street cred, Diaz told Automotive News.
"It cannot look like a wimpy truck. It cannot look like a foreign truck. It's got to look like it's got American bones in it. And you need street credibility. To have a Cummins engine in it gives us that."
The new Titan, which is Nissan's second full-size pickup offering, is aimed for customers who need to haul something big once in a while.
"It's for somebody who does some pretty heavy hauling, but on occasion," Diaz told Automotive News. "You've got a lot of guys out there who need that heavy-duty hauling capability, maybe once or twice a month, maybe on the weekend. The rest of the time, they don't need that much capability. So that's the customer we're going after."