FARMINGTON HILLS, MI. As a prelude to entering the U.S. and Canadian commercial vehicle markets in 2010, Nissan North America has rolled out two concept trucks, a thoroughly modern panel van built on a full-size Titan pickup chassis and a small cab-forward van for urban applications. The initial press unveiling, held at the company’s technical center here, will be followed by a public showing of the concept trucks at the National Truck Equipment Assn. show next March in Chicago.
Calling it “an entirely new business segment” for Nissan N.A, Joe Castelli, vp for commercial vehicles & fleet said his group planned to introduce its first truck in approximately 18 to 24 months, and would have at least three models by 2013.
Although Castelli declined to offer specific details on those trucks, he said the first would be a 2011 model and be built at Nissan’s Canton, MS, plant. Agreements are already in place for Cummins Engine to provide Nissan with diesel engines and for ZF to supply transmissions.
The two trucks unveiled at the Nissan tech center “are concept vehicles” intended to show that “functionality will be our focus,” Castelli said.
Nissan expects to eventually sell Class 1 to 5 commercial vehicles, using a mix of trucks designed specifically for the North American market and others imported from Nissan’s global CV businesses, according to Castelli. Currently Nissan builds and sells commercial trucks in all major markets except the U.S. and Canada.
The NV2500 concept shows off a number of features intended for field service and construction applications. Calling it “a one-box utility van,” Castelli said the show truck was an attempt to show off Nissan’s approach to creating functional commercial vehicles rather than an early version of its first U.S. production CV. Built on a Titan pickup chassis, it is a conventional rather than cab-forward design, but provides three distinct interior zones for passengers, work space and cargo. Highlights include a transparent roof with solar panels, an integrated computer workstation, built-in tool racks and a clamshell side panel that opens to create an on-site work table.
The NV200 is built on Nissan’s small van platform and is fitted out as a mobile office, complete with a sliding cargo pod that can be extended at a work site. Declining to speculate on U.S. plans for such a small commercial vehicle, Castelli said the group is presently “evaluating opportunities for a truck this size.”
Without offering details, Castelli said Nissan’s North American commercial trucks would be offered with a variety of gasoline and diesel engines. With electric vehicles a major focus for Nissan’s passenger vehicles, such an alternative powertrain is “on the table,’ for trucks, as are hybrid concepts, he said.