June 20, 2016
When we think of American auto manufacturers, we usually think of Ford, FCA, and General Motors. These companies have peppered their manufacturing plants across America’s heartland. They produce and assemble parts for some of the most popular vehicles in the United States. Although many other industries have left these heartland cities for greener pastures, car manufacturers have revealed a renewed commitment to production in the U.S. and announced major investments into their plants. What many people do not know, is that Nissan is among these manufacturers as well. Located in the rural back roads of Tennessee is the Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant. This plant started Nissan vehicle production on June 16, 1983. Currently, more than 640,000 vehicles are produced here each year. Five Nissan models are produced here including the Altima, Pathfinder, LEAF, Rogue, and Maxima. The Infiniti QX60 is also manufactured at this Tennessee plant. Additionally, parts are made here to be exported for other Nissan vehicles. In fact, over 1.1 million Nissan vehicles have been manufactured in the United States and sent around the globe over the last 30 years. There are other Nissan plants located on American soil including the two-year-old Decherd Powertrain plant which is near to the Smyrna Plant in Tennessee. In 2003, Nissan opened the Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant in Mississippi. Here the Murano, Frontier Crew Cab, Frontier King Cab, NV Passenger, NV Cargo, TITAN XD, and Titan are produced. Michigan, California, and Arizona also house facilities that play important roles in Nissan’s product development and their North American headquarters are located in the Franklin suburb of Nashville. One fact that sets Nissan apart from other American auto manufacturers is that in its 30-year history of American manufacturing, it has not laid off a single worker. In addition, multiple attempts to unionize their laborers have failed. With five straight years of sales growth, 2015 made the Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant the largest North American producing automotive assembly plant. This plant ranges one mile long from one side to the other and houses five different manufacturing areas. An entire vehicle can be produced here. Even though this plant is already quite large, Nissan has left room to expand onsite. In March 2015, Nissan unveiled plans to invest in Tennessee by building a $160 million supplier park on the same site as the Smyrna Plant. This hefty addition will bring more than 400 Nissan suppliers to one building and is expected to open in late 2016. Nissan expects that it will bring 1,000 new jobs to this area. More than 79 percent of Nissan vehicles purchased in the United States in 2015 were built in North America. All of these figures add up to reveal a company that is not just moving forward on solid ground, but also has secure jobs in manufacturing and technology. The best part is that it’s all on American soil.