Nissan will use the Detroit show to highlight its trucks and crossovers, while also declaring its long-range commitment to the future of cars.
First up is a new Rogue Select, a variant of the brand's big-selling Rogue crossover. The Select will come in at the low end of the nameplate's pricing structure for a potentially significant sales boost.
The Rogue has become the brand's volume leader, surpassing the midsize Altima sedan. But it did so over the past year without the benefit of a low-end model, since Nissan phased out the previous Rogue Select, which was a continuation of the previous-generation Rogue.
Nissan expects the reintroduced Select to attract entry-level customers who might be considering a Versa or a competitor car model.
Nissan's second Detroit show offering will be a concept vehicle that could tip the company's hand on its next-generation family car. Nissan would not confirm the concept, but the timing falls in line with Nissan's next major project -- the redesign of the Altima.
If so, Nissan would be displaying its vision for the future of the besieged family sedan segment just as rival Toyota pulls the wraps off its 2018 Camry in Detroit.
The Altima is emblematic of the industry's challenge in the current market. The Altima has been a key moneymaker and brand-awareness star for Nissan dealers since its fifth generation launched in mid-2012. Attractively styled and aggressively priced, the Altima rose to the No. 3 spot in midsize sedans behind the Camry and the Honda Accord. Despite the industry's shift away from cars in general to more light-truck sales, Nissan is unlikely to turn its back on its cornerstone car models.
Nissan is eyeing a further uptick in truck segment sales this year on multiple fronts. In addition to adding a potentially high-volume Rogue, Nissan also has a freshened Pathfinder and a growing field of Titan pickups in the pipeline.
Nissan will unveil an extended-cab Titan King Cab during 2017 which will likely feature rear-hinged rear doors to offer wider access into the back seat.
The company anticipates that a full rollout of Titan models this year will lift the pickup to much higher volumes than it has ever achieved.
Nissan is also poised to begin providing hints this year about the next-gen Frontier midsize pickup. Frontier sales were up 42 percent for the first 11 months of 2016, but the pickup is coming up for a redesign. The platform has already begun yielding redesigned pickups for markets in South America and Asia.