Nissan North America
The next-generation Nissan Titan will include an optional 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 diesel engine.
Nissan North America
Cummins will build the new 5.0-liter V-8 in Columbus, Ind.

In what Nissan claims will be the first full-size pickup to sport a turbodiesel V-8 engine, the next-generation, half-ton Nissan Titan will be available with an optional Cummins under the hood. Nissan also joins Chrysler's Ram unit in using a small diesel to boost fuel economy and towing performance in a light-duty truck.

The new engine will produce more than 300 horsepower and between 500 and 600 lb-ft of torque. The announcement came on Aug. 21 at Cummins' world headquarters in Columbus, Ind., where the 5.0-liter engine will be built. Exact details, including price, fuel economy and time of launch, were not disclosed.

"Truck owners told us there's a demand for the performance and torque of a diesel in a capable truck that doesn't require the jump up to a heavy-duty commercial pickup," said Fred Diaz, division vice president at Nissan North America, in a statement.

Nissan hopes to boost excitement over its full-size pickup, whose sales have lagged far behind the competition. In each of the last two years, Nissan has sold just over 21,000 Titan pickups in a market in which hundreds of thousands of units are sold every year.

Diaz came to Nissan North America earlier this year after serving as the head of the Chrysler Ram truck brand, where he was responsible for such notable models as the Ram Tradesman. Ram was the first pickup out of the gate to announce a diesel engine in a light-duty truck; however, the forthcoming Titan will be the first to have a diesel with eight cylinders, Diaz notes. Ram's EcoDiesel has just six cylinders, generating 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.