A lean burn engine is effective in reducing fuel consumption. NOX storage-reduction catalysts (NSR catalyst) have been developed for these engines. In order to improve the performance of NSR catalysts, suppression of sulfur poisoning, which is one of the main causes of NSR catalyst deactivation, must be improved. In this paper, the sulfur desorption phenomenon has been analyzed from a novel point of view. Based on these results, an NSR catalyst with improved sulfur resistance has been developed by incorporation of highly dispersed titania, and use of a heat resistant zirconia with enhanced basicity.