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(TCC STAFF Member) Titan's Job 1 Set for October 17

If last week was the week of the "Governator" (California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger), this is the week of the Titan as Nissan's long-awaited full-size truck enters production October 17 at Canton, Miss. What Titan will "terminate," says Business Week Magazine (October 20 issue), is "Detroit's last niche" in the new-vehicle market.

Going on sale at Nissan dealerships December 1, the Titan joins the Toyota Tundra in the pickup truck field but is fully competitive in size, with a 300-horsepower V-8 engine and 9500 pounds of towing capacity. The Tundra is about 5/6 the size of the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, a shortfall that Toyota is moving to erase. A Double Cab version of the Tundra, with a larger four-seat cabin, will go on sale next month and a longer second-generation model of the Tundra will arrive in 2006 at a new plant near San Antonio, Texas, for which Toyota is breaking ground next week.

All in all, the Titan and Tundra will add about 250,000 trucks to the 2.3 million sold annually in the U.S, says Business Week Detroit bureau chief, Kathleen Kerwin. Titan is rolling out with not only a powerful engine and excellent towing ability, but also a roomy cabin with four seats (no bench-seat-only body style) and such innovations as sliding truck-bed dividers and a built-in toolbox. Prices will be disclosed closer to the December rollout, but they are expected to start at the $20,000 level of Silverado and Dodge Ram, whereas the F-150 begins at $22,000. -Mac Gordon
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