Nissan Mulls Extra U.S Manufacturing Capacity

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
nissan mulls extra u s manufacturing capacity

Earlier this year, the big bosses at Nissan expressed their desire to grab a full 5 percent of pickup truck market share in the United States. However, chasing arbitrary targets has now fallen in favor of smart growth.

Still, lighting a fire under the brand seems to have worked, with Nissan moving nearly 1.5 million units in 2016, almost a million more annual sales than 15 years ago. With those numbers in mind, the company is acknowledging it’ll soon need a new assembly plant in America.

According to the Japan Times, Jose Munoz, chairman of Nissan North America since 2014, stated, “At some point, we may need it,” referring to additional U.S. production capacity. There’s an excellent chance that any extra capacity would have to come from a new facility, since the plants in Tennessee and Mississippi are currently running at capacity.

The two Nissan assembly facilities in America crank out a bevy of high-volume products. In addition to a couple of other models, the Tennessee plant makes the strong selling Rogue and three-row Pathfinder. In Mississippi, Nissan hosts Titan production, along with that of the Frontier and Murano. That facility has an annual production capacity of 450,000 vehicles, and Nissan’s Mississippi workforce has assembled more than three million vehicles since opening the site in 2003. The Tennessee plant employs 8,400 workers and has an annual capacity of 640,000 vehicles. (The Altima and new Leaf are built stateside as well.)

Going forward, Nissan has committed to building the next-gen Frontier at the same plant where the present truck is being assembled, meaning that any new production will likely add to, not replace, current manufacturing numbers in America. The Mississippi plant employs more than 6,000 workers and, according to a 2016 study by Mississippi State University, the facility has generated 25,000 direct and indirect jobs statewide. Numbers such as these would no doubt be welcome in any manufacturing town across America.

Nissan sold its first automobile in the U.S. in 1958, with U.S. manufacturing starting in June of 1983 as a white Nissan pickup truck rolled off the assembly line at a brand new plant in Tennessee. Now, Nissan has U.S. manufacturing facilities capable of producing 1.14 million vehicles and 1.5 million engines annually. A new facility would only add to those totals.

Now, I’m posting pictures of the ’97 Pathfinder and Frontier because a) they’re wonderful and b) Nissan has an archive of official photos stretching back to 1997. My productivity may suffer for the next 30 minutes.

[Images: Nissan]

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2 of 6 comments
  • Thornmark Thornmark on Nov 20, 2017

    He's flooding the market w/ lower level stuff because he knows some buy purely on price. There's Toyota, Honda and Mazda and then there's Nissan, below Hyundai and Kia.

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Nov 20, 2017

    Mitsubishi Normal Illinois Assembly plant would have been inexpensive and appropriate to expand Nissan manufacturing. Rivian Automotive purchased it. Perhaps Nissan-Mitsubishi could buy it back.

  • Analoggrotto Knew about it all along but only now did the risk analysis tilt against leaving it there.
  • Mike Beranek Funny story about the '80 T-bird. My old man's Dart Sport had given up the ghost so he was car-shopping. He & I dropped my mom at a store and then went to the Ford dealer, where we test-drove the new T-Bird (with digital dash!)So we pull up to the store to pick mom up. She walks out and dad says "We just bought it.". Mom stares at the Mulroney- almost 13 grand- and just about fell over.Dad had not in fact bought the T-Bird, instead he got a Cordoba for only 9 grand.
  • EngineerfromBaja_1990 I'd love a well preserved Mark VII LSC with the HO 5.0 for a weekend cruiser. Its design aged better than both the VI and VIII. Although I'd gladly take the latter as well (quad cam V8 and wrap around interior FTW)
  • Teddyc73 The Mark VIII was the first car I lusted over as a young new auto enthusiast. Still think it's a beauty after all these years.
  • Art Vandelay wish They’d do an SS version of the Bolt. We need more electric hot hatches and this is a clean enough design that it would look good