CANTON, Miss. – Mississippi pride and vehicles are flowing out of Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi. This week marked start-of-production in the plant for the all-new 2015 Nissan Murano.
From here this halo-vehicle for Nissan’s expanding range of bold crossovers will see export opportunities in markets around the globe.
“This is our vehicle. This is our statement, to the world really. This is a worldwide vehicle, so it is our statement saying ‘we are here in the little town of Canton, Mississippi, and we want the whole world to know what we are about to do,’” said Tina Floyd, technician, Nissan Canton.
The 2015 Murano presents Nissan’s new design direction – including the V-motion front end, LED boomerang lights and the unique “floating” roof.
“The Murano is actually the most technologically advanced vehicle ever built in Canton. For Canton, this is a really big breakthrough. A: It is the most technical vehicle they have ever had; and B: It is a car they are going to be exporting to many, many markets,” said John Martin, senior vice president, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management and Purchasing, Nissan North America, Inc.
Murano is the eighth model produced at Nissan’s Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant; assembly takes place on the same line as Xterra, Frontier, Titan and Armada. To support production, Nissan added 1,300 jobs — including nearly 400 supplier jobs — in Canton.
“It is a different launch. It’s not like the Altima was, not like the Sentra. It is starting from the ground-up here,” said Chris Mathis, technician, Nissan Canton.
In the last decade this plant has grown from a domestic manufacturing facility to a global one. Nissan has invested nearly $2.8 billion in the plant, including $85 million for Murano production and an additional $100 million for a new supplier park.
“When you think, just 11 years ago we had never made an automobile in Mississippi so the idea that we would be an automobile manufacturer was something brand new to us,” said Phil Bryant, governor, Mississippi. “We thought, we are going to make some Nissans, we might get lucky and make a pickup truck but here we are now with this eighth vehicle. So the growth, the supplier park just north of here another 80 employees being added, 6,000 people working here, it’s just phenomenal. It far exceeded any of our dreams, but this is a dream factory.”
Mississippi production is just one engine for Nissan’s expanding manufacturing presence in the U.S. Combined with Nissan’s vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, as well as a Nissan and an Infiniti powertrain plant in Decherd, Tennessee, the company’s U.S. operations have produced nearly 13 million vehicles and 8 million engines since 1983.
This new chapter in Nissan’s U.S. manufacturing story brings the company closer to a goal of having 85 percent of the vehicles it sells in the United States produced in North America by 2015.
“Teamwork makes the dream work. It takes everybody as a team to make this a great launch, to make this a successful launch,” said Maxine Funches, technician, Nissan Canton. “It’s sleek, it’s gonna be a head-turner.”