Over the past decade, Nissan has vastly expanded the number of vehicles it makes in the U.S., with its Canton, Mississippi, assembly plant playing one of the most crucial roles in making the cars it sells here.
Just after announcing yesterday’s Nissan Resonance concept for the Detroit Auto Show yesterday, a vehicle anticipated to preview the 2015 Nissan Murano, the automaker said it would be moving Murano production to its Canton facility. Moving alongside Canton’s other vehicles like the Nissan Altima and Pathfinder, the Murano will be packing its bags and and leaving its Japanese homeland in its next iteration, paving the way for the vehicle to be produced more profitably. Current fluctuations in the Japanese yen have made it lucrative for automakers to bring production to the U.S. from overseas.
Nissan says it will take 800 workers to build the next Murano, which is scheduled to start production in the U.S. in 2014. It has not said that more workers will be needed in the plant overall, however.
“As we look back on ten years of manufacturing in Canton, it’s become clear throughout the Nissan network that ‘Made in Mississippi’ is a stamp of quality and great people,” said Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas, in a statement. “With the addition of this new model in Canton, Nissan is well on its way toward meeting our goal to manufacture 85 percent of the vehicles we sell in the U.S. right here in North America.”
Canton, Mississippi, a blue collar town outside Jackson, has benefited greatly from the plant Nissan erected in 2003 to build its midsize vehicles and truck lines. Starting with just one vehicle made, Canton now has eight assembly lines, including all of the automaker’s truck-based vehicles sold in the U.S. outside the with the exception of the Infiniti QX56: the Frontier, Titan, Armada, and NV full-size van.
Nissan also has North American plants in Smyrna, Tennessee, and in Mexico.
A non-union plant, the Canton facility has been a cornerstone for Nissan since being purchased by French Renault at the end of the last century. Nissan was near-bankruptcy, but it has since thrived with more localized production and and a return to profitability over the last decade and a half.