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Nissan Truck

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  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    daveperc

    I really can't argue with you. You're right with everything you say.

    The fact remains that the Frontier (and other Nissans) remain lost and invisible in the marketplace. Unfortunately, having a good product, is not enough to ensure success. Mazda and Mitsubishi have the same problem.

    Subaru was in the same situation several years ago but overcame it by focusing on AWD and their boxer engines. Nissan (and the others) need to find and/or develop something "really unique" about their product - and hammer it home to the buying public. To be "slightly better" or "slightly different" isn't enough in today's market. There's not another vehicle line like Subaru. And, they make a great product, and let the consumer know it. That's why they're successful.

    The C&D review is typical of "car people" testing trucks - which is both good and bad. It's good in that they reflect the pulse of much of the market. It's bad in that they tend to gloss over "work/functional" items that "truckers" are often more interested in.

    I don't agree with them in their assessment that most of the compact pickup truck market goes for lightly equipped/optioned vehicles. At least that's not the case (or my perception) in my neck of the woods.

    Bob
  • davepercdaveperc Posts: 76
    Bob,

    I know what you mean when you say invisible. It is hard to spot a frontier on the road. The "hardbody" P/Us are plentiful. I think that the hardbody was inexpensive relative to others (not sure) so that helped make the difference before. But with the frontier not available with all configurations, they are not hitting all segments in this market. I think Nissan is using price as its difference, at least that is what drove me to consider them. I have never bought Japanese before. Price is really the only way they can get a portion of the market here in the USA. Don't expect them to compete with the Big 3. They should be aiming to beat Toyota, Mazda (Mazda has been running an ad saying they are cheaper than Nissan, but it is not so, at least with what I priced), and Isuzu. I don't know what conditions are in other markets.
    As with other auto types, the different makers are offering almost identical cars and trucks(looks, performance,...)the choices are disappearing. As an example, have you seen the Ford F250, F350? They must like the the Dodge Rams, so they are doing the same to the fenders, offering a V10, and such. I almost believe, of the Big 3, Chrysler is doing the best design work. Separating themselves with the vehicle is very difficult. That was why Dodge styled the Ram and then the Dakota like they did, trying to give them recognition and that "Sex appeal".

    I think what they meant by that statement was for 4x2 buyers. Seems that 4x4 buyers get it all, where the 4x2 buyers are looking for more of a basic car with capability to stop at the lumber yard and actually buy something.

    To reply to the Frontier owner with the vibration at 70-75, I did not experience that. You might need a wheel balance. Mine feels good. Having had various 4x4s and trucks in the past, I am actually impressed with the ride. My truck is replacing a 96 ford contour, and it is not a disappointment to get into and drive like trucks used to be.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    Daveperc

    What I meant by invisible was - even when they're there, they're invisible. They just don't stand out in the crowd. They blend in and disappear.

    Nissan is going after people such as yourself. You don't seem to be interested in the biggest or the flashest - just a good solid vehicle, at a good price.

    Bob

    I agree with your assessment of the 4x4 buyer vs. the 4x2 buyer. Where I live, semi-rural Maryland, I see far more 4x4s than I do 4x2s, which is why I made the statement about seeing more "loaded" compact trucks.

    As for the large Dodge Rams and Ford Super Duties, yes I am very aware/familiar with those vehicles - and am a big fan of them too.
  • davepercdaveperc Posts: 76
    Bob,
    I mean invisible in that you don't see many yet. But more now since I have become interested.

    I am in Saratoga Springs, NY. Even though we get snow that can stay for months, I question why people buy so many 4x4s. I used to be one of them. 1 jeep cherokee and two full size broncos. I found that you wait and wait for the day when it finally snows good (maybe 3-5 times a year), and you can finally use that $4000 AWD that you paid for. When it does, you get in put it in 4, start to drive, and then quickly get held up by some who is not going any faster than you could in 2 wheel drive. I used to go around those people, but these days I am more conservative. Most buyers probably don't go four wheeling, or buy it for good reasons. So why pay the extra, plus poorer mileage, less exceleration, less payload, and rougher ride. Image??

    Nissan truck buyers probably have never been those looking for the image thing. They have never been flashy trucks. I like to see the ones that are 10 years old, 150,000 miles and the own says that I have not had to do anything to it. Same clutch and all. One guy told me the only thing he has to do is spray the window track on the driver door because it gets stiff. My brother drove one to 160,000 miles as his work truck and finally traded it in and got another because he felt he was on borrowed time, not because it died. Don't expect that from any other maker besides Nissan and Toyota.

    Dave
  • tkinpatkinpa Posts: 19
    Anyone know anything about the V6 coming out this fall. When available? Cost? How about horsepower and torque? Thanks for the info.
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    Hi tkinpa, I work for nissan, and my info tells
    me it will be the 3.3l that we have in the pathfinder which has 168hp, I don't remember off
    hand for sure, but I believe the frontier will
    have 176hp when they are done with it, these
    are due end of september, also this fall, only the
    4x4 x-cab will be available with the 6. BTW, I
    just bought my frontier on the fourth and am loving it!
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    Hi all, I am new to the town hall here, and I was
    just looking through some old posts here under the nissan truck catagory, I was shocked at some of the misleading things said about nissan trucks,
    I know that taste is subjective, so I won't attempt to address the issue of styling, but so far as the slump for nissan, it is happening with all japanese auto makers, the reason is the asian currency crisis, the sales numbers take into account overseas sales to china and indonesia,
    which are hurting because of this crisis, I am not sure about the accuracy of the 40%sales slump in trucks when the frontier came out, but even if it is accurate, think about it logically, truck buyers are not stupid, they know, just like car buyers know, not to buy right away when a new model comes out, they wait for the prices to come down, proof of this is that I could not give away
    a frontier in the first three months of introductiuon, now frontiers account for half of my new car sales in the last 2 months, it is just like the altima, it was stone cold at first, then
    nissan gave us the money to sell it lower and now
    I can't keep altimas around, 98's are worth their weight in gold! The point about sales are slow
    because there is not a 6 avilable yet is hogwash,
    would anyone care to guess the percentage of 4cyl
    compact trucks sold? it is approximately 86%!!
    I sold nissans in 94 when we had a 4 and a 6, I
    sold 20 or 30 4cyls before I sold one 6! the fact
    is that the frontier has the most powerfull standard 4cylinder out there, and from the posts
    of everyone here, they prefer the 4! as do I since
    I just bought one. Any intelligent person will see
    that the frontier is the best out there, it handles better than any other truck gives you the largest bed, is the only one with a timing chain instead of a belt, has more room than the ford/mazda and tacoma, has a tighter turning radius and is a more advanced 4x4 (g-sensor, boxed
    frame etc,) As far as the resale value, the statement that the frontier resale value will be hurt because it is unpopular is ludicrus! nissans
    have historically had some of the best resale values out there, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, after reading some of these misleading posts, I start to wonder if some of these people are really just uninformed or are
    actually hiding their real agenda.
    Thanks for allowing me the rant, and I would be happy to answer any questions for anyone
  • tntntjtntntj Posts: 1
    I need some help here. I am looking at a 1987 Nissan P/U 4X4, with a 3.0 V6, 5SP, basic Truck no a/c, with 161,000 miles on it. I can't find a good price to offer for it what would the blue book value be for it?
  • lwflwf Posts: 223
    "would anyone care to guess the percentage of 4cyl compact trucks sold? it is approximately 86%!!"

    Really? I'm afraid I have a hard time believing that 86 percent of all the trucks sold in the US during 1997 or up to now in 1998 had 4-cylinder engines. That means that all of the others (V6, V8, etc.) represent only 14 percent of US pickup sales.

    Does anyone else have any statistics and the source of those statistics to corroborate this?
    I realize that 100 percent of Nissan's pickups had 4-cylinder engines because that's all they made in those years; however, their contribution to all pickup sales in the US has been very small.

    cncman, when you use the word "misleading", I presume you mean anything said about the Frontier that is negative. It isn't just the people posting here in Edmunds who are negative. There have been a lot of others who have written very uncomplimentary articles about the Frontier. As a matter of fact, I hadn't seen one that wasn't critical and believe me, I looked for them because having had a Nissan pickup and having been satisfied with it, I was ready to get another. As you know if you read the previous posts, I didn't.

    You'll have to excuse me for thinking this cncman,
    but by your own words, you're Nissan saleman and I'm familiar enough with that occupation to know that there are such things as sales-promotion meetings. A lot of what you broadcasted above really sounds like the stuff a sales manager would try to fill the heads of sales people with in order to stimulate or improve sales. You, as a car saleman might swallow it, but most customers probably don't fall for it. Sorry. 30 4-cylinder pickups sold for every 6-cylinder that went out the door. Wow! That really sounds like a whopper. Was that true nationwide, or just in the car dealership you worked for?

    And the last accusation I'd take issue with is that the participants in the forum are either uninformed or have some ulterior motive for saying what they do. "Uninformed"? Hardly, they are better informed regarding this particular topic (pickups) than any other group I've ever encountered. I suspect the service manager at your dealership might not even be able to follow some of the technical discussions that have occurred in these posts. "Hiding their real agenda"? I'm pretty darn sure you have a purpose for your comments that is related to how you make a living, but I doubt if that's the case for the rest of us. I think for most of us, it's just recreation and a chance to give and receive information about a topic in which we have a mutual interest. A lot of times we don't agree, and sometimes there is no resolution to the disagreement. That's all part of the game.

    As for the Nissan pickup. Because I was so happy with the last one I had, I'd probably buy another in the future if Nissan would straighten out their act. But it will have to be a major improvement over the current Frontier, and I don't believe they have any intention of doing that. I'd love to have the opportunity to tell Nissan's top management what's wrong with it. If you can arrange that, great. Go for it. But I suspect they are not interested in hearing from potential customers. They'd rather concentrate on marketing gimmicks like the TV ad where a little dog tells its master what kind of a pickup to buy.
  • lwflwf Posts: 223
    tntntj

    www.carprices.com

    has prices for vehicles back to 1989. I had an 87
    pickup and my son had an 89. They were essentially the same vehicle, so you may want to check out the 89 figures. With 161,000 miles, I doubt if the difference in price between a 10- and 12-year-old vehicle would be more than a couple of hundred.
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    Hi again everyone, before I start, I would like to say that yes I do sell Nissans, but I said that before, Am I here because I am trying to sell you
    folks Nissans, NO!, if you think about it most of
    you don't live in my state, much less within comfortable driving distance to me. So why am I here? Simple, I am a car/truck enthusiast like the rest of you, I dream about a v-12 aston martin
    like everyone else, I only want to learn about
    other makes and models out there and to offer my assistance with questions like when the 6cyl frontier is coming out, I will make a promise to everyone here, everything I state will be verifiable by a third party source, if it is not true, then call me on it! I will back down.
    Keeping all of this in mind, I guess I should respond again to lwf, please if I am bothering anyone, I could make this my last post on these topics, but I just can't stand to see information get slighted, and twisted. I am sorry, lwf, but maybe I should have been more clear with my statement that 86% of COMPACT trucks sold in the US are 4cyls, I did not mean as you imply that 86%
    of ALL trucks sold had 4cyls in them, obviously the chevy z-71 did not have 86% of their sales in 4 cylinder trucks. nor did the ford F-350, when I
    said compact trucks I meant the nissans ford/mazdas, toyotas etc. but I did not think this needed to be said, but this is here for your benefit, I have to get the source of this info
    on monday because I don't have the article anymore, but it came from a copy of "automotive news" a publication primarily for dealership owners and managers. It is very professional and very accurate.
    No, lwf, when I say misleading I don't mean anything that is said negatively about the frontier, I know that there is no one truck or car
    that is right for everyone, but when someone puts their own spin on information or just presents bad
    information, I feel that is misleading and that is what you are doing and it is a disservice to the
    members of this forum, but again I thought that this was understood, again I expand for your benefit.
    When you say that you have not seen anything
    but critical and uncomplimentary reviews of the
    frontier as much as you looked, it makes me wonder. It makes me wonder how you could find an
    obscure article about nissan management, but you could overlook the fact that intellichoice named the frontier "A best overall value in its class"
    for 4x2 and 4x4, toyota did not make it for both or any other import. (source; 1998 complete small truck guide). It makes me wonder how you can find out that frontier sales are down 40% but you can't seem to find the motor trend's "truck trends"article from april of 98, that finished its glowing review of the frontier by saying
    "The frontier is signifigantley more refined, offering a more compelling value than ever before".
    Were you unable to find articles as obscure as
    intellichoice and motor trend or do you consider these uncomplimentary? BTW I have a list of several others if anyone wants them, but I want to
    save space.
    as for the statement that when Nissan had the 6 cyls that I sold 20-30 4cyls for every 6, that has been my experience at that dealer, I am sorry lwf,
    but it was not convenient for me to sell trucks at
    every dealership in the US, I try to speak from experience or unbiased material as much as possible. What I did for everyone today was call a couple of salesmen at a ford dealership and a toyota dealership, to see what their views were,
    (I don't feel comfortable putting their names and phone numbers here, but if anyone wants to call me on this, I will ask them for permission for you to call). Keep in mind that I sell trucks in Texas
    and virtually everyone in Texas drives a pickup,
    so I think we are a good measuring stick for this
    sampling. The person at the ford dealership said that she sold about 10 4cylinders to every six,
    in the Ranger, the toyota person said his ratio
    was probably 15-18:1, I think that this random sample shows my figures to be accurate.
    A few other erroneous details to clean up here,
    lwf said that I was brain washed by a sales manger
    into thinking that the frontier had the tightest turning radius, the largest bed, the only one to offer a timing chain, more room, a better ride,
    most standard horsepower, etc. Please someone help me, because I must be hallucinating, every publication including edmunds says that these are facts not opinions. Again if I lie call me on it,
    that's all I'm doing to you lwf, the people here
    don't need uninformed opinions.
    For everyone's information the VP's lwf mentioned leaving nissan because of the frontier,let me
    tell you the truth, Eastman was fired because the
    "enjoy the ride" campaign did not have the results desired for all nissan vehicles. The fellow from Japan was an interim VP and was said so from day 1. So far as the Nissan sales slump, it is not because of the frontier, it is because of economic
    factors in japan, and a changing US market, or would lwf have us believe that the frontier caused
    toyota and honda sales to fall also? Watch out toyota and honda owners, by lwf mathematics, this means that your hondas and toyotas are worth less
    because they are not selling now!
    Well I guess I should wrap this up, but I would like to reitterate, that everything I say is fact, not opinion, I have nothing to gain here, If I BS,
    or anyone else BS's call them on it! I will tolerate opinions as to which is better or styling, because that is in the eye of the beholder, but if someone says something is junk
    then they need to back it up.
    Is the nissan frontier unreliable? No
    Does it have major advatages over competition? yes
    do the people who drive them feel that they made a good choice? yes.
    will a frontier have good resale value? yes
    anyone who says otherwise is either uninformed
    or has a chip on their shoulder.
    Bye for now,
    Byron,
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    hey all, just wanted everyone to know the v-6
    will have 168hp and I should get one within 30
    days, I will let you know when it gets here.
    also I should get the four door in soon to.
    contact me with any questions
    Byron
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    Sorry cncman, I have to agree with lwf all the way on this one.

    We can sit here and argue till doomsday about statistics that you've presented. The fact of the matter is that Nissans aren't nearly as popular as Japanese brands. Honda's, Subaru's and Toyota's popularity in the USA in recent years has grown tremendously, while Nissan's popularity has decreased tremendously. That's a fact. It has nothing to do with the "Asian crisis". It has to do with marketing the right vehicle at the right time, at the right price. That is something Nissan has consistently failed to do.

    You dismiss styling as subjective. True. However, I find (and...speaking as a graphic designer, who teaches design at a college level) that many Nissan products to be much more unattractive (Frontier and Pathfinder especially come to mind) than most vehicles that they compete against. I suspect that much of the buying public feel the same way. And...it is styling that first attracts "most" people into the showroom. Remember the saying: " You never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Well, if people are turned off by the looks, chances are you'll never see them in the showroom.

    Nissans for the most part offer good reliable, middle-of-the-road transportation - and so do virtually all the other brands that Nissan competes against. As I said before, Nissan has to find a (significant) way to set itself apart from the others. So far it hasn't.

    Bob
  • lwflwf Posts: 223
    cncman,

    "Brainwash" was your word; I didn’t use it. But perhaps I should elaborate on what I meant. You said and I quote:

    "the frontier has the .........most standard horsepower, etc."

    I’m glad you made this statement, because it also seemed to be strong point in a lot of the Frontier TV ads I’ve seen. I believe it’s 143 HP and, of course, in Nissan’s view of the pickup world we should be talking only about 4-cylinder engines not 6s. That seems a little absurd since every other compact pickup manufacturer can, in fact, provide an engine with more HP than the Frontier. But even if we go along with this charade and restrict the discussion to 4s, isn’t the standard 4-cylinder engine that comes in a Tacoma 4x4 150 HP???? And the one that comes as standard equipment on the Tacoma 4x2 is only 1 HP less that the Frontier’s at 142 HP, but it has more torque (160 vs. 154 ft-lbs), so I’d imagine most drivers would call that a standoff. Maybe I’m wrong but if I am, I’m sure I’ll be told about it. But if I am right, this is what I was alluding to when I referred to a sales manager putting ideas into the heads of their sales people. Because I saw and heard those TV ads, I have to believe this "more horsepower" concept was not something you dreamed up by yourself; rather, it came straight out of Nissan dogma. If the above statement isn’t a lie, it certainly sounds to me like it’s at least bending the truth to compensate for all of the criticism Nissan has received for not providing a 6-cylinder engine in their Frontier. (The best defense is a strong offense.) Like I said before, I don’t think customers buy it. Well.......some might, but I don’t.

    Another quotation from your text is: "I would like to reiterate, that everything I say is fact, not opinion."

    Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. Welcome to the pickup conference. Something else I also said before is that we often disagree. But it’s good recreation, and you’ll have to admit you’ll hear about things your friends won’t tell you.
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22
    I think what Nissan is lacking here is an "image building" truck, something like GMC had with the Syclone, GM with the 454SS, and Toyota has with the PreRunner. As it is today, every Frontier is basically the same 4-cyl truck with different options, and that's what it's image is: 4-cyl transportation.

    In a strange way, the late 90's trucks are paralleling the late 60's muscle cars. Basically, more power=more truck sales. If you want an example, just look at Dodge's advertising campaign. Most every line of trucks (Nissan included) desperately wants some angle on "Our truck is more powerful than x, y, and z," even though the vast majority of their sales will be lower-powered models.

    Largely, Nissan's left-out. It's not going to be outmuscling anything, even in V-6 form. The S-10's 4.3L and the Tacoma's DOHC 3.4L both have it soundly beaten. This is why I agree Nissan blew it.
    They had an opportunity to pair a great, car-like chassis (new Frontier) with their world-class selection of engines (Maxima's VQ30DE, for example) in an image building truck. Then, when you pulled up to the stoplight you could say, "I wonder what that guy's got in that thing?" instead of "Oh. . .another Frontier."
    Whatta y'all think?
  • lwflwf Posts: 223
    hcombs0,

    I guess it's pretty clear that you and I are on the same side of the table regarding this topic, but it's been years, actually decades, since I've gunned the engine at a stoplight, so that's not the real basis of my disappointment with the Frontier. But you're exactly on target with what you said about Nissan not taking the opportunity to produce an image-building truck using engine technology it already had. If the V6 cncman referred to is really going to be only 168 HP, it's going to be just another case of what rsholland said above, "too little too late". How can that compare with the 190+ HP engines that are available with compact pickups available from other manufacturers. I don't want to burn rubber when the light turns green, but I would like to have as much power for towing as modern-day engine technology can provide.

    By the way, I don't think this idea of not making the best engine available is something only Nissan is guilty of. It seems to me the Ranger would be greatly enhanced if Ford dropped their 3-liter and 4-liter V6 engines completely and made the 205 HP 4.2-liter engine used in the F150 the V6 power plant for the Ranger.
  • davepercdaveperc Posts: 76
    This forum is breathing again. I will try to be unbiased also.

    UPDATE: Took delivery of my 1998 Frontier XE, 5-speed, 4x2 on 7/10/98. Turned 2000 miles this morning. Have had it loaded sevaral times already, many projects have been waiting for a P/U, and have done one trip to Maine from Saratoga Springs, NY, 8 hours each way.

    First, lets talk the truck, not drivetrain. Ride is quite good. I am impressed with the handling, it actually handles well. Tracks good, no wandering. In sharp turns, it doesn't feel like it is top heavy like some p/u's. Feed back through the wheel is good. The standard tires on the XE are 65 series with alloy wheels, I am sure this helps a lot. The interior is very comfortable for 2(most owners don't need anymore than 2 but need the extra room for stuff). Reclining Bucket Seats are very comfortable, even for long trips. Dashboard is simple and easy to read and use, but I should have gotten a tack. Am used to not having one but it would be nice. Interior noise is low. Ventilation is excellent. Visibility is good. The bed is big for the compacts. Actually is about the same size as the Dakota. I think that the Dakota truck is wider because they flare the wheel wells a few inches where the Frontier is flatsided. Bed is about the same. I takes the load pretty well. I rented a "ditch witch" this weekend. With about 1200 lbs in there, the truck squatted but handled fine, not that I or anyone else would push it when loaded, but going 55 mph is felt fine and stayed straight.

    Now the drivetrain. I am not disappointed, as long as the 5 speed is with the I4. (As I have said before, an auto trans takes to much power from I4s) The key is being in the correct gear. This is the same with all I4s. The Frontier does have a good base I4 engine and is probably at the top of the sector with Toyota. In 1 month all you V6 lovers will get what you want. I am satisfied with what I have. It can get the truck moving quickly when you need to and in general traffic I am not the holdup, other are. Mileage has been good, general driving last fill up was 25 mpg and cruising on the trip was ~27 mpg.

    Now to the arguements here.

    Image stuff you guys mention is very shallow. If this is what you are looking for, go buy a Loaded 2500 Ram 4x4 with a V10 for $30,000. Lot of image and lot of bucks. Compact trucks (Junior P/U) are not much for image.

    You guys are already saying the V6 is no good and it is not even out yet!! Do you guys pick your vehicle purchase based on 5 or 10 hp on the spec sheet. DRIVE IT FIRST. When the Frontier gets the V6, you will get the added power you wanted. Compare equal setups that you are in the market for, get a price, then decide what you want. Engine output and vehicle performance are not the same. See the R&T comparison where the Frontier I4 bested the V6 Dakota. You guys don't seem to be interested in what you need, but instead want to out do everyone else, wanting more power than everyone else.

    Some of you have or had older Nissan P/Us, what did you see in these boring old trucks when you bought them. Nissan P/Us never were flashy, the fastest, or anything other than inexpensive tough trucks that are dependable. What else is the Frontier lacking, leather seats?

    If image was so important, why is the ranger the best selling. No hotrod, no great looks, nothing more than a good product at a reasonable price. The frontier is now at a better price and has better quality. First impression I get reading most of the anti posts: People should spend time, after the first impression, researching and comparing when thinking about spending $15,000 or more for a compact P/U.

    I feel better, Dave
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22
    Daveperc:

    First of all, I applaud you for getting the truck you wanted. As you say, talking about "image trucks" is shallow. After all, every truck buyer should examine his needs and get the truck that bests suits his application.
    However, that's what most of the pickup market has become in this era of booming pickup and SUV sales--shallow. Even old-time pickup guys weaned on Ford 300cid sixes and chevy small-blocks have fallen under the spell of V-10's and 24V Cummins diesels. In this era of cheap fuel, the more power makers can shove into compact trucks, the better (witness the 5.9L Dakota Sport).
    I've test-driven a new frontier, and I agree with what you say: it drives well, good ergonomics, etc. It's just my assertion that Nissan needs something to pull truck-buyers onto the lot to experience that for themselves. Many people seem to be dismissing the Frontier outright without ever driving one because of bad press like:
    Car & Driver: "Needs more power. . ."
    Motor Trend: "Would like a V-6 option. . ."
    These sentiments have been echoed here, as well. I just can't see how Nissan didn't see it coming.

    As for what you say about the Ford Ranger, that it has no "image leader," what about the "Splash"? 4.0 V6, stepside bed, available 5-speed automatic, power everything--sounds like an image-leader to me.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    To everyone

    I don't think anyone here has said that Nissan makes a bad truck. I know I haven't. What I (we) been saying is that that Nissan doesn't make many vehicles that appeal (for a variety of reasons) to much of the public.

    I'm not saying that you have to have an "image" vehicle to do that. I'm saying you have to have something really compelling (or outstanding) about your product to attract me to it. There are too many good pickups out there to choose from. None of the pro-Nissan arguments that I've read are enough to sway me over. I can get virtually everything Nissan offers from Toyota or Ford - along with a number of other goodies that Nissan doesn't offer. OK, I will admit that the Nissan may (?) be cheaper. But I don't buy on price alone.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    In my previous post I mentioned that I need some compelling or outstanding reasons before I would consider a Nissan Frontier. Here is a list of items that no compact truck manufacturer (to date) offers. If Nissan offered a pickup with these items, I'd be on their doorstep in a heartbeat.

    1. The 3.4 V6 from Toyota is the benchmark engine in this class. Build an engine that is equal or better than the Toyota engine. The 3.3 V6 that Nissan offers is NOT that engine!

    2. Offer a 5-speed automatic.

    3. Offer a fully independent suspension - front and rear.

    4. Offer full-time 4WD capability - along with part-time capability.

    5. Offer a 4-door pickup - with a "decent-sized" bed - not the tiny "sandbox" that they're proposing to offer this fall's 4-door pickup.

    6. Offer a 16" large tire package.

    7. Offer also a "full-size" pickup with all the above mentioned items.

    Now, those are the things I would like to see. Sure the vehicle would cost more. But I would gladly pay for those items - even if it still had goofy styling!

    Bob
  • davepercdaveperc Posts: 76
    Harold,

    My ranger comparison was a compliment to ranger. People I know with rangers are happy with it and feel that it is a tough, inexpensive truck. I can't speak about anyone else, but I don't see the splash alluring p/u buyers to look at the ranger. Car & Driver gives the following stats: of 300,000 rangers sold last year, only 1,500 were splash. There is no room in the bed, 30.7 ft3 (Calculated from dimensions). The 4.0 V6 and 5 speed auto are both very good options. But a compact step side to me is a marketing ploy. 43.4" wide. S-10 is 41.5". Three and a half feet! What can you put in that?

    As for why Nissan didn't see it coming, from what I understand, they were not ready with the V6, and , instead of holding the truck from intro, they released it because most of Nissans P/U sales are I4s anyway.

    I think that Nissan does have a nitch. They make the affordable japanese P/U. Complaints about the toyota are always price. Complaints about the Nissan are never the price. I feel saving $2,000 is important. If people don't mind paying more, I guess I am in the minority. I drove other trucks setup the same and none were standouts from the rest. Cost was the main issue.

    When the V6 is out, I am sure the mags will rereview the truck, and will maybe look at the whole truck this time. Some reviews have been fine, but many just can't get past the lack of V6.

    Dave
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    Hey everyone, good to see some more comments, I am willing to concede that perhaps I am biased towards nissans, but I have always had nissans, toyotas and hondas in my family, they all had around 100,000++ miles on them as my dad was too
    cheap to buy a car over 4,000 bucks, they were all
    great, dependable, it was just the nissans that were more fun to drive and seemed to have more extras for the money, maybe this is what sets nissan apart, "the most for the money" and that appears to be what most buyers are looking for,
    I was really just shocked when I read all about
    the styling problems and the slow sales and lack of power everyone said the frontier had, the frontier has been out for several months now, and
    I never had a customer tell me he/she did not like the styling, I did have some ask when the 6 was coming out, but they bought the 4 anyway, I could not sell them first, but in the last 3 months I can't keep them on the lot, again, I think people were waiting untill the prices came down, because
    noone could really discount the frontier more than
    about $500 at first. Now the Frontier is outselling toyota and mazda in texas where I live
    I have sold 13 new vehicles this month and 7 were
    frontiers, so if you can see this from where I stand, it came as a shock to see all of the negative info, just because I had never run into it before, and I do a lot of research on vehicles.
    To criticize nissan for not having a v-6 now seems
    to be ridiculous, I guess if they would have held off the intro of the four cylinder until the 6 was
    ready, then the press would say something bad about that too. I guess it boils down to this, you
    buy what you want, and for me and the others on here that have bought a frontier, it is just like my dad's old 280z, it is fun to drive and gives you the most for the money.
    later.
  • cncmancncman Posts: 487
    rsholland, thanks for the info, believe it or not,
    nissan does have a feed back channel for salesmen to send customer comments to nissan, I will pass your suggestions along to nissan later this week,
    if anyone else has ideas, let meknow and I will send it with them too.
    Bye
  • davepercdaveperc Posts: 76
    Not to sound like I am not taking you serious, but, a compact truck with full four doors and a large bed would be a narrow full size truck. So lets just stick with your full size idea. 16" wheels should come with that. But that V6 that is equal to toyotas would be far to small for that full size truck (aka T100) so we had better give it a 5 speed auto. Fully independant suspension? It already rides good. Lets make it better. And full time 4x4? Barely use the part time, but hey we should be able to carry the extra weight with the better suspension and more powerful engine.

    OK. Seriously, do you think that these things are going to increase sales? Yes, the V6 is needed. Although does a super strong engine really make a difference in sales. I don't see many Ram V10s, most are the V8s. I am not sure that a big difference in sales would be seen between the current 3.3 and one that is 25% stronger.

    Nissan sells compact P/Us, not full size. A full size is not going to sell the compact better. It rides good as is, but maybe 4 wheel ind. suspension would ride so good that it could make a difference. I am not sure if leaf springs can go with that though, and leafs are good for trucks as they work better than coils when loaded. Full time 4x4. Has been available but not been in big demand in SUVs, why would p/u buyers want it? Tire/wheel package is good. May get some interest in a handling package. The four door deal is somewhat different, being a 4 person vehicle, I think. I agree that the bed looks small, but how long do you go. My personal opinion is that it is a compact, you can't carry everything in it, so get a full sized instead. 5 speed auto, probably will start being offered more and more now that the trend has started.

    Today there are two extreme setups that are marketed. The Hotrod, with handling setup and big motor. And the tough 4x4, with big wheels and tires and high ground clearance. Dodge did break new ground in making the dakota midsized instead of compact. I don't know where else a maker could go with the compact p/u. Sportside is a joke.

    I know I am probably out of my mind on this one, but I have the pleasure of dating a wonderful woman who drives a Mazda Miata. Cruising with the top down in this car is real nice. I would bet that a convertible P/U would be a hit. The interior is small enough that the top would not have to be too big and the heater/AC could handle it. I know, pretty far out there.

    Dave
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    daveperc

    The list I mentioned would get me and a number of people in the showroom, if for no other reason that it's different - and probably better too. If you don't get people into the showroom, you can't sell them a vehicle.

    Several points of disagreement:

    1. Fully independent suspensions can and do work on trucks. Witness the Hummer and ML-320 Mercedes, as well as a number of military assualt-type vehicles. True, these are expensive vehicles, but state-of-the-art technology almost always begins on expensive products, and then trickles down to mainstream products. Certainly a properly designed fully independent suspension wouldn't be too stressed on a small pickup - or even a full-size 1/2 ton pickup.

    2. Full-time 4WD capability (full-time "capability", not necessarily "full-time")is VERY popular on SUVs, contrary to what you stated. Check out Jeep's SelectTrac and QuadraTrac, Ford's ControlTrac, Land Cruiser, Land Rover and Range Rover, and GM's AutoTrac. For '99 GM will be offering AutoTrac (full-time capability) on their new redesigned pickups. It's coming. Nissan can be a leader in this area, or continue to be a follower.

    3. My comment regarding a full-size pickup meant also developing a proper engine for that segment.

    4. The bed in the new 4-door Nissan Crew Cab is roughly 5' in length. To me, that is too short to be anything but a sandbox. It should have been designed around the current 6' box (not a full-size [8'] box that you mentioned).

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    Lastly, Nissan needs to make some bold courageous product statements (like what Chrysler has done) to get the public's attention. Simple as that.

    Bob
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22
    One thing that's really interesting to me about this whole "Frontier: 4-v-6 cylinder" argument is how closely it parallels the controversy when the Altima was introduced in 1993.
    The Altima, which shares the same engine (KA24DE) with the Frontier and 240sx, was said to be "underengined" by some, mainly by people biased towards Taurus and Camry V-6's.
    However, the originals Altima's good points: sterling build-quality, drivability, relatively low price, and high feature content won over enough people to make the Altima a success.
    I hope that the inherent goodness in the Frontier wins-over the public, just as the Altima did, even without an image building truck.
  • davepercdaveperc Posts: 76
    Bob,

    1. Fully ind. suspensions on the vehicles you describe is not a good comparison. P/Us need a lot of spring travel because they must work over a very wide weight range AND provide a decent ride. Leaf springs can do this. Coil springs can be made stiff or soft and provide adaquate travel for a smaller weight range. Obviously a stiff spring will sacrifice less spring travel when loaded, but ride quality is sacrificed. Military vehicles are very stiff rides and I don't think this is what people want. I am not up on the Benz you mentioned, but their sport ute is probably not set up to take 1400 lbs in the back.

    2. Full time 4x4 has been available, yes. I just have not noticed lots of people buying it over the part time systems. I had a Cherokee where both were available. Why spend the extra money and drive two axles all the time when it is not needed for 99% of the miles driven?

    3. I miss understood you. Your point was Nissan should try to enter the full size market with a proper engine lineup. Sounds good but this would not help the frontier situation. They probably could learn from Toyota's mistakes. The T100 has not been what it was expected.

    4. What I meant was that this compact with 4 normal doors, as this "thing" is, and the normal size compact bed, it getting long. It would have to be at least 1.5 feet longer than the current xcab. It would be as long as the Dakota and 5" narrower, so it could be done. The concept they are using probably is to use the current undercarriage from the xcab and add room to the cab from the bed.

    Back to the current p/u, I have noticed many more on the roads lately. My guess is that good rebates are pushing up sales. I do believe nissan needs to make their nitch the affordable japanese maker. The V6 that is to be introduced does NOT have to be a market leader. The truck needs to be comparable to others as far as towing, payload, and for some, the acceleration needs to be with the competitors. But the lower cost and good quality are musts for them to get sales moving.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    hscombs0

    The Altima issue is slightly different than the Frontier issue.

    The Altima (4 cylinder) competes more with the 4 cylinder Accord and Camary, whereas people who want a 6 cylinder engine would look at the Maxima, which competes nicely with the 6 cylinder Accord and Camary.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,698
    daveperc

    You can have a leaf spring with an independent rear suspension. It doesn't have to be coils. The Corvette has had a transverse leaf spring w/IRS for years. Again, my point is a "properly designed IRS" - whatever form that may take - is feasible.

    The most popular SUVs sold (Explorer & Grand Cherokee) have full-time 4WD capability standard on their 4WD models. The new smaller SUVs have it standard too. The market is clearly moving in that direction. As I mentioned, the redesigned '99 GM pickups will be offering it too. The top-of-the-line models (Silverado LT 4WD) will have it standard. I would be very surprised if Ford doesen't offer ControlTrac on the 2000 F-150, to counter GM.

    Again, my point is that Nissan needs to become a leader, and not just a follower. Leaders get noticed. Followers don't. I'm sure that there many other ways (other than what I mentioned) to get noticed. However, my mentioning the above posted suggestions has promoted some lively discussion between you and me. Nissan needs more of that. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of contraversy.

    I understand your point regarding the length of the vehicle. My point is that a 5' bed is almost usless. I'm not convinced that compact crew cab with a 6' bed would be too long.

    Bob
This discussion has been closed.