Toyota’s Greatest Truck Threat is NOT the F-150, it is the next-gen Nissan Titan
An outlandish headline for this story, but stay with me for a minute. With all the buzz about the new F-150 and its fuel economy, there is actually a bigger threat to the Toyota Tundra sales and that is the Nissan Titan. Why? Follow along.
Non-Loyal New Buyers
One of the first things you learn about the truck segment is brand loyalty is “insane.” Actually, insane probably isn’t the most accurate word, “blind ignorance” is probably better. The fact is Ford, GM and Ram buyers continue to buy from the same brand regardless of past problems. I’ve heard stories of people blowing through 2, 3 and even more engines or transmissions in a truck. They then sell/trade the truck in for a newer model from the same brand. When you ask them, they will tell you their last truck was “reliable.” Sad, but true.
What does that have to do with first-time buyers? These customers don’t suffer from the blind ignorance of older buyers. In fact, studies have shown, new generation Y buyers don’t have any brand loyalty. They will instead by the best truck based on their needs. And often, they put reliability on the top of their list. Who sits high on reliability lists? That’s right Toyota.
Toyota, long known for being extremely reliable, is helped by the notion that “Japanese” brands have great reliability. This plays out in the marketplace. One of the most accurate statements I heard when I first starting working on this blog is “a Toyota buyer is just a pissed off former domestic buyer.” Read our comments and you will see this statement playing out time and time again.
Now with first-time buyers looking for a reliable vehicle along with former “domestic” buyers, Toyota has a pretty good situation. They have a reliable engine and a good looking truck. That is, until the Nissan Titan comes into the market.
Nissan, like Toyota, is often thought of as having good reliability. Love or hate Consumer Reports, the takeaway from their latest brand reliability reports was “Japanese brands dominate.” Never mind, Nissan finished towards the bottom of the pack. In this world of Twitter and Facebook creating a shortened attention span, the “Japanese brands dominate” is what people took away from that report.
Big Diesel Offering
One of the things that makes Toyota a bit unique is that it offers the “reliable alternative” big gas engine to Ram’s HEMI. Again, love or hate Ram, their track-record of poor reliability helps Toyota. Plus, Toyota’s engine still has technology that is comparable to today’s engine offering.
For those who want a big, throaty V8 engine and don’t care about fuel economy (there are more people like this than automakers say there are) this is key. Who will offer the biggest half-ton engine of them all? Not Toyota. It will be Nissan.
How many “pissed off domestic owners” will switch from Toyota to Nissan to get a diesel? If you have been reading the Toyota fan forums, Facebook pages and listening to customer feedback on various sites like this one, it could be a significant number.
Variety of Reasons
There may be a variety of other factors like styling, price and options that Nissan needs to worry about, but, you could argue, Toyota has those same concerns.
Also, why not die-hard Ford, GM or Ram guys? Wouldn’t these guys be interested in it? Nah. Talk to them and the first word out of their mouths is “Jap truck.” They aren’t buying. This is all about the new buyer or pissed off domestic buyer.
Ultimately, Nissan could steal some market share from Ford, Ram and GM and that won’t bother those companies at all. If Nissan starts snagging Toyota’s slim market share, that could hurt. That could hurt a lot.
What do you think? Who’s market share stands to be hit worse by the Titan?
Filed Under: Auto News