DETROIT – Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s Titan fullsize pickup truck will eventually get a diesel engine option, a company executive tells Ward's.

“It's under study and it will happen,” Carlos Tavares, executive vice president-product planning, says.

Carlos Tavares

Tavares does not say whether Nissan will collaborate with subsidiary Nissan Diesel Ltd. or another supplier to develop the diesel mill.

Previous indications were Nissan would not collaborate with Nissan Diesel if it went ahead with such an engine. (See related story: Nissan Mum on Future Diesels, Hybrids)

CEO Carlos Ghosn said earlier in the week that Nissan would be ready with diesel engines when the U.S. market demonstrates a demand. (See related story: Ghosn Says Nissan Will be Ready With Diesels)

Although the Titan grew sales in 2005 vs. 2004, Nissan's first fullsize pickup truck has yet to meet its annual sales goal of 100,000 units.

Some industry critics have suggested the lack of a V-6 engine is hamstringing the Titan's potential growth. The truck only is available with a V-8 engine.

Tavares says, “it's possible” a V-6 engine could be in Titan's future. However, Nissan does not want to diminish the vehicle's appeal to U.S. fullsize truck enthusiasts, which the auto maker studied in developing the Titan. (See related story: Nissan Chief Designer Reveals New Direction)

It is important for the Titan to have the correct “fundamentals” to appeal to Americans,” he says, who want high torque and horsepower, as well as adequate towing capacity with their fullsize pickups.

“If you miss a fundamental, you're out of the game,” says Tavares. So if you (add) a smaller engine…you can sell some (additional units). All the same, he says, Nissan is better positioned by sticking with its lone V-8.

cschweinsberg@primediabusiness.com