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Nissan Rapidly Boosting US Production

Launch of new Murano bringing local production to 85%.

by on Dec.05, 2014

Jose Munoz, the CEO of Nissan North America, with the third-generation, 2015 Murano.

For its part, Nissan operates two major assembly plants in the U.S. The biggest is in Smyrna, Tennessee, a plant capable of producing up to 650,000 vehicles annually, and employing 8,000 hourly workers. The mile long factory produces the midsize Altima and the Leaf battery-electric vehicle, among other models.

About 400 miles to the southwest, Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi employs another 6,000 blue-collar workers. While production is lower than at Smyrna, the Canton factory is one of the most flexible in the American market, capable of production eight different models, including both car-like unibody vehicles, such as the Murano, and frame-based trucks.

As the first of Nissan’s new third-generation Murano crossovers roll into showrooms this month, buyers will find a lighter, more stylish and more fuel-efficient vehicle. But what only a few are likely to notice is that the new model also will be made in the U.S.

Nissan’s big assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi has become the new, global production base for the 2015 Murano – which until now had rolled off a Nissan line in Kyushu, Japan.

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“We want to localize more of everything we do,” noted Pierre Loing, the head of product planning for Nissan North America.

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Honda, Toyota Reach U.S. Production Milestones

Honda Marks 30th year of production; Toyota rolls out 25 millionth US-made car.

by on Nov.05, 2012

The first Honda Accord rolls off the line in Marysville, Ohio on Nov. 1, 1982.

It’s a milestone month for two of the largest Japanese automakers – or as they increasingly tend to bill themselves, two of the largest foreign-owned U.S. automakers.

Marking its 30th anniversary since rolling out the first American-made Accord, Honda says it will invest $200 million in its original Ohio assembly operations.  Toyota, meanwhile, was a relative latecomer, launching U.S. production just 26 years ago, but that’s still given the Japanese giant enough time to reach 25 million vehicles assembled in the States.

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“We continue to evolve as a company thanks to their commitment to build the best vehicles in the market,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., toasting the workers at Toyota’s expanding production base here.

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Honda Cuts Shipments of Cars from Japan to U.S.

Maker losing money on models like Fit, CR-Z, Insight.

by on Jun.12, 2012

Honda plans to export the Fit subcompact from China to Canada -- at least temporarily.

Honda is cutting exports of the Japanese-made Fit to U.S. dealers because of lopsided exchange rates.

Crushed by lopsided dollar/yen exchange rates, Honda is cutting back on exports from Japan to the U.S., even though that will curb potential sales and market share growth, the maker’s CEO says.

The maker hopes to offset those reductions by ramping up production in the U.S. and other parts of North America.  Honda recently broke ground in Mexico for a new plant that will supply American dealers with the subcompact Fit and possibly other products.

“Under the current exchange rate of 80 yen per dollar, our export business doesn’t make any profit,” Honda Motor Co. CEO Fumihiko Ike told the trade publication Automotive News. “Definitely, the absolute number of exports to the United States will be decreasing.”

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Honda is by no means the only Japanese maker to curb exports to the U.S. as a result of the weak dollar.  And European makers, including BMW and Audi, have also curtailed exports due to lopsided exchange rates – though with the Euro sliding the gap has narrowed in recent weeks for German and other Continental manufacturers.

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70% of Japanese Cars Sold in U.S. Now Built in North American Plants

Japanese have created 407,000 U.S. jobs, says new survey.

by on Jan.02, 2012

Honda launched production of the latest Odyssey minivan at a plant in Alabama last year.

Nearly seven in 10 of the Japanese-badged cars, trucks and crossovers sold in the U.S. last year were produced on a North American assembly line, according to a new report.

More than a quarter century after the first Japanese transplant – a Honda factory in Marysville, Ohio – went into operation more than 400,000 jobs in the U.S. have been created by the Japanese, according to a new report by the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association, or JAMA.

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And that trend could continue.  With the yen stronger than ever, manufacturers like Toyota, Nissan and Honda are steadily shifting production away from the home islands.  Within the last several months Toyota has announced plans to begin producing several product lines, including the Sienna minivan, in the U.S. for export to Korea.  They had previously been produced in Japan.

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