2005 Xterra Will Be Eighth New U.S.-Built Vehicle From Nissan in Two Years
|More Than $2 Billion Invested for Localized Design, Engineering and Manufacturing, Creating More Than 6,000 New U.S. Jobs at the Automaker|
Nissan North America's first quarter sales soared more than 30 percent this year, and the 2005 Nissan Xterra, unveiled here at the New York International Auto Show, will add yet another chapter in the company's success story when it goes into production at Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant early next year.
U.S.-built products like the Xterra are a significant part of Nissan's goal to sell 1 million additional units worldwide by the end of 2005. In fact, in less than two years, eight all-new vehicles will go into production at the automaker's manufacturing facilities in the U.S., a launch schedule that's practically unprecedented in the history of the automotive industry.
New Models, New Investment
The Maxima mid-size sedan, previously built in Japan, went into production at Nissan's award-winning assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., in February 2003. Later this fall, production of the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder will also transfer from Japan to Smyrna, creating additional jobs to support the launch of the all-new, 7-seat SUV.
In fact, total employment at Nissan's three manufacturing facilities in the U.S. has doubled -- from about 5,700 employees in 2000 to more than 11,300 today. And that doesn't include the on-site contractor jobs, now totaling more than 3,800, nor the thousands of new jobs at its suppliers.
"As a global company, Nissan has production facilities in every region where we sell our products," said Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. "This allows us to not only better react to variables such as currency fluctuations, transportation costs and changes in demand, but also to market and build vehicles specifically for the needs of that particular region."
For example, while versions of the all-new Pathfinder will be built in Europe, Japan and North America, each will be tailored for those markets, allowing differences in specific features, such as engines and suspension settings.
Full-Size Vehicles, Full-Size Production
This strategy also played a part in Nissan's decision to invest more than $1.4 billion in an all-new, 3.5 million-square-foot plant in Canton, Miss., to build the company's first full-sized vehicles.
"For Nissan to be considered a full-line manufacturer in North America, and to meet our goal of selling 1 million additional units worldwide by 2005, we knew we had to add a full-size truck and SUV as well as a large minivan to our model line," Ghosn said. "And because these types of vehicles are unique to North America, it was imperative that we design, engineer, source and build them here, by Americans, for Americans."
As a result, since Nissan broke ground on the Canton facility less than three years ago, more than 4,500 new jobs have been created in the area to support the production of the Quest minivan, Titan full-size pickup truck and Armada full-size SUV. The highly trained employees at this facility also build the QX56 full-size luxury SUV, the first Infiniti-brand vehicle to be produced outside of Japan.
And, due to Nissan's increased North American sales goals and aggressive export plans, the Canton facility was expanded to include supplemental production of the Altima, its popular mid-size sedan. The Altima, currently built at Nissan's Smyrna plant, will also begin rolling off the Canton assembly line this summer.
Powering Nissan's Growth
Nissan also builds all of the engines that power its North American-built vehicles in the U.S. Due to the automaker's expanded U.S. production as well as the introduction of its full-size truck and SUVs, employment has also been expanded at its Decherd, Tenn., engine plant.
In fact, this versatile facility, which produces two different 4-cylinder engines, several versions of Nissan's award-winning 3.5-liter V-6, as well as the powerful new 5.6-liter V-8 engine for the company's full-size pickups and SUVs, has quadrupled in size since 2000 as part of a $1 billion expansion in Tenn.
This plant soon will begin assembling a new 4.0-liter V-6 engine, which will power the Xterra and Pathfinder as well as an all-new Frontier pickup that will go into production in early 2005.
Nissan's employment has also increased significantly at its facilities all over the United States, including its headquarters in Gardena, Calif.; Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA) in Farmington Hills, Mich.; Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. (NMAC) in Dallas; and, Nissan Design America in San Diego.
All told, more than 1,000 new, non-manufacturing jobs have been created by Nissan in just the past four years.
In addition, a $40 million expansion at NTCNA is almost complete, significantly increasing the automaker's design, engineering and development capabilities.
This expansion involves new workspaces for hundreds of designers, engineers and purchasing staff, and a significant increase in studio space for Nissan Design America - Farmington Hills.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.