After Nissan announced plans to exit the full-size pickup segment in 2024, rumors have continued to circulate about the automaker’s consideration of a light-duty electric truck. While the Japanese automaker doesn’t expect to enter the electric pickup market anytime soon, company executives say Nissan will eventually need to go electric in the truck segment.
During the Japan Mobility Show on Wednesday, Nissan Global Product Strategy Executive Ivan Espinosa told Automotive News that the automaker plans to continue investing in a future pickup. However, Espinosa says an electric pickup won’t hit the market anytime soon — despite the company’s continued investments.
“One thing you can be sure about is we’re going to keep investing in the truck segment,” Espinosa said. “How do we evolve … is the question that we are discussing internally. Eventually, we will have to electrify the truck.”
Despite the statements, Espinosa refused to formally comment on product plans. Instead, he pointed to the fact that U.S. automakers have been hard to beat in the full-size pickup market.
“You have competitors doing 700,000 trucks a year,” Espinosa said. “So it’s a bit of a difficult space to play now.”
Nissan sold 76,183 Frontier mid-size trucks in the U.S. last year, so a future electric Frontier wouldn’t seem beyond the automaker’s long-term ambitions.
However, electric pickups won’t be the first EVs to roll out, according to Espinosa. Additionally, previous rumors have suggested that the automaker wouldn’t bring an electric pickup to market until 2030.
“The demand for electrification is concentrating today much more on the C-SUV and D-SUV [segments],” Espinosa added. “These are the ones that you will start seeing rolling into first. And I see trucks a little bit on the later stage.”
— WHAT'S INSIDE? (@whatsinside) October 25, 2023
The statements come as the electric pickup segment emerges with new contributions like the Rivian R1T and the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck, as well as larger electrified trucks from Ford, Chevrolet and GMC, among others. It also comes as Nissan has unveiled a few concept EVs at Japan Mobility, including the above-pictured Nissan Hyper Force.
Along with ending production of the Titan in 2024, Nissan has announced plans to phase out the Leaf electric vehicle (EV), which was one of the earliest battery-electric cars to be introduced to global markets.
The automaker has also faced production stalls and other issues with the production of the Nissan Ariya, though it increased the number of EVs it hopes to debut by 2030 to 19 from 15 earlier this year.
With plans to make 40 percent of its sales fully electric in the U.S. by 2030 and a renewed ambition in the EV space, many have speculated around the subject of an electric pickup from the automaker. Nissan was also reportedly considering the idea of a Titan EV back in 2020, though the automaker will now exit the full-size pickup market with the Titan ending production next year.
Nissan Dealer Board Chairman Tyler Slade told Automotive News a few months ago that the automaker would want to make a $40,000 electric pickup rather than competing directly with more expensive, larger EV trucks.
“They don’t want to be in the Rivian or the [Tesla] Cybertruck space,” Slade said. “They want to be in the affordable $40,000 range.”