After pulling the Titan full-size pickup from the US market, Nissan is banking on a segment it’s better positioned in with mid-size trucks. Amid Nissan’s next-gen Frontier delay, speculation is rising that it could reemerge as a mid-size EV pickup.
According to a supplier memo viewed by Automotive News, Nissan is extending production of the current generation Frontier by two years.
Nissan will now continue building the Frontier at its Canton, Miss facility until the 2029 model year. The previous generation lasted 17 years before receiving its first major refresh in 2021.
Although Nissan didn’t offer an explanation for the extension, one supplier familiar with the matter told the publication that the refresh would have come just as it was preparing its Canton facility to build new Nissan and Infiniti EVs.
The source added that Nissan doesn’t want “a major model launch during the time that they’re starting up” the EV transition.
In fact, the Frontier may not receive a redesign at all, according to the source.
Is Nissan working on a mid-size EV pickup?
Instead of the planned next-gen pickup initially slated for the 2027 model year, the source said the Frontier could reemerge as an all-electric mid-size pickup.
Nissan just reached the one million mark for EV sales last month, 12 years after launching the iconic LEAF.
Despite its early success, the LEAF has lost momentum, with nearly every automaker releasing more advanced electric models with longer range, advanced technology, and improved charging.
The Japanese automaker did release its second all-electric mass-market vehicle, the 2023 Nissan Ariya, which arrived in the US in late 2022 (and is already outselling the LEAF).
Meanwhile, Nissan is transforming its Canton facility to build new electric models with a $500M investment revealed last February.
According to Nissan’s production schedule (via Automotive News), the first models will be a pair of electric sedans starting in 2026. A couple of electric crossovers are due in the following two years.
David Johnson, Nissan’s North American senior vice president, told the publication, “Canton will be North America’s electrification hub for the next five to six years.” He added, “That’s where we’re going to bring in the new platforms, the new technology.”
Regarding a mid-size EVpickup, Nissan advisory board chairman Tyler Slade said earlier this year:
The Frontier Hardbody has been a part of Nissan’s brand for decades. It’s logical to bring an electric version.
Slade added that dealers are looking for mid-size electric pickups similar to the Frontier. He added that electric trucks offer advantages over gas-powered ones, explaining:
Trucks typically get the worst gas mileage. So, making them electric will reduce operating costs.
Nissan declines to comment despite the growing speculation. However, delaying the pickup “gives the market time to mature enough to allow an electric Frontier to hit the ground running with high enough volume to make money,” according to AutoForecast Solutions Vice President Sam Fiorani.
An electric pickup could help Nissan reclaim its status as a leader (or at least remain competitive) in the new electric era. Nissan has sold 34,139 Frontier models through June this year compared to 4,234 LEAF and 5,195 Ariya EVs.
There is a growing need for smaller EV pickups, and Nissan could fill the void with an electric Frontier.
Meanwhile, Ford, GM, and Tesla will battle it out in the full-size segment with the F-150 Lightning, Chevy Silverado EV, and Tesla Cybertruck.
By the time the Frontier is due for a refresh, an electric model is the only option that makes sense. The market is already transitioning quicker than most have predicted, and the trend looks to continue in that direction.
How do you guys feel about a mid-size Nissan EV pickup? Would you buy an electric Frontier? Let us know in the comments.