Nissan To Expand Decherd, Tennessee Engine/Transaxle Plant

Nissan To Expand Decherd, Tennessee Engine/Transaxle Plant – Brief Article

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA), said it plans to expand its engine and transaxle plant in Decherd, Tenn., and to maximize vehicle production capacity utilization at its Smyrna, Tenn., vehicle assembly plant.

The expansion at the Decherd plant will add more than 500,000 square feet to the existing facility, Nissan said. Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2000 and production of six-cylinder (V-6) engines will start in June 2002, the company added.

The expanded operation, located approximately 80 miles southeast of Nashville, will include engine machining and assembly for the production of V-6 and V-8 engines that are not currently produced in North America, Nissan said.

At the Smyrna plant, Nissan’s current plan is to increase production volume from its present level of 380,000 vehicles to 440,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2001. The plant will have the potential to reach output of 500,000 in the following years, it said.

The company said it plans to invest a total of $1 billion over the next four years to expand its Decherd engine operations, maximize its production capacity utilization in Smyrna, and for new products investment (including costs for vendor tooling associated with the operations).

Nissan estimates that current employment level of approximately 5,700 at the Decherd and Smyrna facilities could increase by as much as 2,000 by 2004.

“We’ll be adding engine capacity that is currently not available to us from Nissan’s plants in Japan,” said Emil Hassan, senior vice president, North American manufacturing, purchasing, quality and logistics, NNA. “Nissan’s objective is to produce more powertrain and vehicles locally reducing total costs including logistics, minimizing the impact of currency fluctuations and getting the end product to the consumer more quickly and efficiently.”

The move also will help Nissan meet North American market requirements and maximize current production capabilities in North America, which also includes operations in Aguascalientes and Cuernavaca, Mexico, the company said.

The V-6 engine will be from Nissan’s “VQ” family, according to Nissan. Currently, the Decherd plant assembles 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engines for the Nissan Altima assembled at Smyrna and transaxles for the Altima and the Nissan Quest and Mercury Villager minivans assembled by Ford Motor Co. in Ohio, the company said.

The Smyrna facility now builds the Altima sedan, the Nissan Xterra sport-utility vehicle and the full range of Frontier pickup trucks, including the Regular Cab, King Cab and the four-door Crew Cab. Thanks in large part to continued strong sales of the Xterra and Frontier line of trucks, Nissan Division sales in the United States increased 20.5 percent during the first six months of 2000 compared with the same period last year, the company said.

During the next three years, Nissan said it will introduce at least 10 new models into the U.S. market, which is expected to reinforce the current sales momentum.

“Nissan’s commitment to the North American market is based on high consumer demand for our products and our strong operations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico,” said Hassan. “These moves will position us to bring production in line with market demand and to meet requirements of products that will be developed for the future.”

COPYRIGHT 2000 International Trade Services

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group