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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.


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


Nissan Adds 900 Jobs as it Expands US Production

Maker shifts Rogue production from Japan to US.

by on Jul.01, 2013

Nissan will shift production of the Rogue from Japan to the US for the 2014 model-year.

Nissan continues to expand its manufacturing base in North American despite a devaluation of the Japanese yen, which is making it cheaper to produce vehicles in Japan.

With a goal of boosting local production climb to 85%, the maker will add the Nissan Rogue to the list of models assembled in North America, a move that will add another 900 American manufacturing jobs. The move will mark the first time Rogue has been produced in the United States. Previous models had been built in Japan and the announcement marks the 30th anniversary of Nissan opening its first U.S. assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.

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“Our investment creates hundreds of new jobs and underscores Nissan’s longtime commitment to our employees and expanding operations around the country,” said Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Bill Krueger.  “Our dedicated workforce in the United States continues to build high-quality vehicles, such as the Altima, Pathfinder and LEAF, which are driving growth with sales up a combined 70% in May.”

Nissan workers mark the maker's 30th year of US production with the first vehicle off the Smyrna line.


Nissan Launches New US Battery Plant

Smyrna plant supplying US version of Leaf electric vehicle.

by on Apr.23, 2013

A Nissan Leaf rolls down the assembly line in Smyrna.

Nissan, true to the vision of its chief executive, remains upbeat on the prospects for sales of electric vehicles as its launches production of a revamped U.S. version of the Leaf.

After suffering unexpectedly slow sales last year, demand for the Nissan Leaf has picked up sharply in recent months – and the introduction of a lower-cost model is expected to boost sales even further. Nissan was able to drop costs, it says, by shifting Leaf production to it sprawling factory complex in Tennessee – where the maker is now producing the electric vehicle’s batteries, as well.

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The Nissan Battery Plant in Smyrna, Tennessee is the largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in North America and the only plant controlled by a major auto manufacturer, giving Nissan complete control of the quality and the technology, representatives of the Japanese automaker, noted Mark Swenson, vice president of product engineering.


Nissan Likely to Launch U.S. Hybrid Production

But despite new Tenn. battery-car plant, hybrid batteries will still be imported.

by on Jan.24, 2013

The hybrid-powered Nissan Resonance will reappear in production trim as the next-generation Nissan Murano.

Nissan is likely to start producing a new generation of hybrid-electric vehicles at its assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee in the near future.

The Infiniti JX is among the first models assembled in the U.S. that will be equipped with Nissan’s new 1-motor/2-clutch hybrid system, senior sources told Other American-made models, including the new Altima and Pathfinder, along with next-generation versions of the Rogue and Murano may also add hybrid drivelines in the near future.

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But countering some newly published reports, the batteries for the hybrids will likely continue to be imported from Japan despite the recent launch of a new lithium-ion plant alongside the sprawling Smyrna factory complex.


New Nissan Altima is an “All-American” Car

Japanese maker turns to North American suppliers for 98% of content.

by on May.16, 2012

Nissan reveals the redesigned Altima sedan.

What is an “American” car? That’s become increasingly difficult to define in an era when most major international automakers operate at least one U.S. assembly plant – while cars bearing a Detroit nameplate might come from a plant in Korea.

With much of the design and engineering work done in the U.S. – and 98% of its content supplied by North American suppliers, Nissan insists the 2013 Altima is about as American as you can get.

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“We’ve been moving in this direction for some time,” said Nissan Americas Vice Chairman Bill Krueger following the “Job One” rollout of the first saleable Altima.

Nissan, he noted, has been steadily increasing the number of products it builds in the U.S. and Mexico, in large part driven by the strong yen.  And “We’ve been localizing (the parts used in those vehicles) at a faster rate,” he said.


Nissan’s North American Plants Outproducing Toyota, Honda

Maker admits needing more capacity in U.S., Mexico.

by on Jul.20, 2011

The first truck rolls off the line at Nissan's Canton, Mississippi plant in 2003.

Its sales may lag well behind industry giant Toyota, but Nissan North America is now out-producing the transplant operations run by its rival.

In fact, Nissan’s four assembly lines in the U.S. and Mexico turned out more cars, trucks and crossovers than any other transplant network during the first half of 2011 – and will likely need to undergo a major expansion in the near future, company officials tell

Through the end of June, Nissan produced 565,730 vehicles at those four North American plants.  Significantly, that was a 9.1% increase over year-earlier levels despite the interruptions caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that tattered much of the automotive supplier network based in Northeast Japan.

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Toyota saw production fall 28% during the first half, to 555,972 vehicles, while third-ranked Honda’s North American production network reported a 20.8% drop, to 516,603 cars, trucks and crossovers.

“They did a lot better job” at Nissan overcoming the parts shortages that were created by the March disaster, says Aaron Bragman, automotive analyst with the consulting firm IHS.


Nissan Planning to Expand North American Capacity

Another U.S. plant a possibility; maker may also add Infiniti production.

by on Jun.29, 2011

With the Juke and a number of other new products coming to the U.S., Nissan needs to expand North American production capacity.

This story has been updated to include details on Nissan’s individual U.S. and Mexican plants and more on its plans for Infiniti.

Anticipating significant growth in both North and South America Nissan is working up plans that will call for the expansion of its current production base in the U.S. and Mexico, a senior official confirms, hinting that the maker may also resume production of Infiniti models in North America.

Nissan earlier this week unveiled a new 6-year plan, dubbed Power 88, that projects a 50% increase in global sales, with much of that expected to come from China, India and other emerging markets, but the U.S. and other parts of the Americas are central to what global marketing chief Simon Sproule acknowledges is an “aggressive” plan.

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“What’s clear is if we look at our aspirations for growth in the U.S. and the role the (two Nissan) Mexican plants play for our growth in North and South America we’re going to have to have more capacity,” said Sproule, who was interviewed during a segment hosted on Detroit NPR affiliate WDET-FM.