Nissan shows diesel-Frontier truck

Chicago — Nissan Motor Co. on Thursday showed off a concept diesel-powered version of its Frontier mid-size pickup at the Chicago Auto Show and said it will wait for feedback from customers before deciding whether to build it.

“It’s a technical study. We’re going to use social media — Facebook, Twitter, so forth and the blogosphere to find out what people are saying about this truck, ‘Do they like it? Do they want it? Should we build it?” and we’re going to let them decide for us, basically,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan’s U.S. unit.

Last month, Diaz said the company was considering building a hybrid version of the next generation Frontier.

The demonstration Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner gets an estimated fuel economy increase of 35 percent over the current Frontier V6.

In August, Nissan announced it would sell a 5.0-liter turbo diesel V8 in the next-generation Titan full-size pickup, which will arrive in 2015.

“Frontier continues to be a huge success story for us, with more than 60,000 units sold in 2013,” Diaz said. “Nissan has always valued the mid-size pickup segment, and with this technical study project, we are looking to explore what is possible for the next-generation Frontier.”

This week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said its new 2014 Ram 1500 diesel pickup will earn a 28 miles-per-gallon highway rating, the best of any full-size half-ton pickup.

The 2013 Ram with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine earned a 25 mpg highway rating.

The smaller pickup segment has been shrinking, although General Motors Co. announced last month it was re-entering the segment — a market that Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have both exited. GM also said it plans to sell a diesel version of its small Canyon and Colorado in the 2016 model year. The GM midsize trucks will go on sale this fall.

Sales in the segment fell 15 percent last year and are down by 75 percent over the last 15 years. Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. also both sell mid-size trucks.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140206/AUTO0104/302060118#ixzz2t7R55iUr

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