Amid the postponement of the next-gen Frontier, speculation grows about Nissan’s potential mid-size EV pickup plans.
Nissan extends current Frontier production by two years, potentially for strategic EV preparation.
Speculation rises that the Frontier could emerge as an all-electric mid-size pickup.
Nissan’s Canton facility transformation and expanding EV lineup suggest a shift toward electric mobility.
Nissan’s recent decision to delay the introduction of the next-generation Frontier pickup has ignited discussions within the automotive realm. Rather than proceeding with the anticipated next-gen model initially set for the 2027 model year, growing speculation centers on the possibility of the existing Frontier evolving into an all-electric mid-size pickup. The extension of the current Frontier’s production period, as revealed in a supplier memo detailed by Automotive News, hints at Nissan’s strategic considerations amidst its electrification pursuits.
The manufacturing facility located in Canton, Mississippi, where Frontier production continues, was poised to transition towards manufacturing new Nissan and Infiniti electric vehicles (EVs). Nissan’s reluctance to undertake a significant model launch while navigating the complexities of initiating EV production startup appears to be the driving factor behind this decision. Sources suggest that the Frontier may bypass an extensive redesign altogether.
Nissan’s foray into the electric vehicle market traces back over a decade with the introduction of the iconic LEAF. Recently, the LEAF achieved a significant milestone by crossing the threshold of one million EV sales. Nevertheless, the LEAF has encountered increased competition as various automakers introduced advanced EVs boasting extended driving ranges, sophisticated technology, and improved charging infrastructure.
In response to the shifting market dynamics, Nissan unveiled the 2023 Nissan Ariya, its second all-electric mass-market offering. This model’s entry into the US market in late 2022 has demonstrated its ability to outpace the LEAF in sales. Concurrently, Nissan is embarking on a substantial investment, funneling $500 million into the transformation of its Canton facility, aiming to position it as a pivotal hub for electric vehicle production.
The production timeline as outlined by Automotive News indicates that the facility will commence the production of two electric sedans in 2026, followed by the introduction of electric crossovers in the subsequent years. David Johnson, Nissan’s North American Senior Vice President, confirmed that Canton will serve as a focal point for electrification initiatives over the next five to six years.
Tyler Slade, Chairman of Nissan’s Advisory Board, subtly suggested the prospect of a mid-size electric pickup. Slade emphasized the enduring legacy of the Frontier brand and hinted at the logical progression towards an electric version in response to dealer preferences. He highlighted the advantages that electric trucks offer in terms of operational cost reduction.
Despite the growing speculation, Nissan has refrained from offering official commentary. Industry observers posit that the decision to delay the Frontier launch aligns with a strategy aimed at allowing the market to mature. This approach positions Nissan to smoothly integrate an electric Frontier into the evolving automotive landscape, ensuring optimal volume and profitability.