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