DETROIT – Giving plenty of advance notice, a determined Nissan says it will debut a redone ’16 Titan pickup truck at next year’s North American International Auto Show.

The announcement comes from Executive Vice President Andy Palmer at this year’s show, where Nissan debuts a Sport Sedan concept car bound for production.

“On this stage, you’ll see our next-generation fullsize pickup next year,” Palmer says here after touting the Sport Sedan as a fun vehicle with youth appeal.

The new Titan will appeal to truck buyers whose needs are not necessarily met by U.S. automakers’ light-truck offerings, he tells journalists on the sidelines.   

“The American makers do their products terrifically, so we have to make sure ours is outstanding, and a Cummins diesel engine will be part of that.”  

Chrysler’s Ram pickup offers a diesel engine; the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado don’t. The optional powerplant planned for the Titan is a 300-hp 5.0L V-8 turbo made in Columbus, IN. 

It’s challenging to go up against U.S. automakers in a segment they dominate and protect like mother bears, Palmer acknowledges.

The Silverado is being honored as North American Truck of the Year at this year’s Detroit auto show. The Ram won in 2013. Also this year, Ford unveils the ’15 F-150 in a 20,000-seat hockey arena next door to the Cobo Hall show venue.

“We’ll see whether we succeed,” Palmer says of the upcoming Titan’s prospects. “You have to come from left field with something unexpected and different.”

Nissan looks to its new Titan to do better than the current one that has fallen short of original sales goals. When the Titan hit the market in 2004, the automaker hoped to sell 100,000 units a year, largely by taking market share from the Ram. That didn’t happen.

“We’re not where we should be,” Palmer tells WardsAuto.

Nissan delivered 15,691 Titans in the U.S. last year, a 27.3% decline from 2012, according to WardsAuto data.

In contrast, Ford sold 763,402 F-Series, General Motors delivered 664,803 Silverados and GMC Sierras and Chrysler found 355,673 Ram buyers. Toyota, a distant fourth in the fullsize truck competition, tallied 112,732 Tundra sales.

British-born Palmer says it’s not an impossible dream for Japanese automaker Nissan to offer a pickup that resonates in the U.S.

The new Titan “is engineered in America and designed in San Diego,” he says. “The Cummins engine is made in America. The gasoline engine is made in America. The truck is made in America. We can make an all-American truck.”

sfinlay@wardsauto.com