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New Nissan Plant Set to Build Five Models

Nissan constructed a new $1.4 billion plant in Canton, Miss., to build its new Quest minivan along with its Titan King and Crew Cab pickups, Armada Pathfinder SUV, yet-to-be named Infiniti full size SUV and Altima sedan.

The Quest is checked in the pre-delivery area.
A worker secures a seat belt holder.
 Canton workers train at an engine work station.
Nissan President and Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has said Mississippi was chosen because strong governmental support, room for expansion and a strong motivated workforce. Low labor costs and a union-free labor pool were also undoubtedly factored into the decision.

The 3.5-million square-foot plant will use Nissan’s existing Smryna, Tenn., plant as an example. The plant was actually “designed to emulate Smryna,” says Ghosn.

In fact, Nissan hopes to achieve the same high productivity and quality as Smryna in Canton, says Dan Gaudette, senior vice president, U.S. manufacturing. His goal is to see the two plants tied as the most productive plants in the U.S.

During the next three years the industry will see an “amicable but healthy competition” from the two plants, Gaudette says.

Smryna has a 450,000-unit capacity but is building 500,000-units and Nissan recently announced an expansion that will take it to 550,000 vehicles. Canton also will follow that lead. The plant has a 400,000 unit capacity and will eventually build more than that, Nissan says.

“We’re never satisfied with what we designed for capacity,” says Emil Hassan, senior vice president, North American Manufacturing, purchasing, quality and logistics.

Add in Mexico production and Nissan will be building 1.3 million units in North America. The plant utilizes integrated manufacturing, Hassan says. Suppliers have built plants around Nissan’s and are connected by conveyor to the Quest plant. Others actually work within the plant.

They build 27 integral components and modules that are delivered on time and in sequence to the plant.

“That’s the most aggressive step,” Hassan says.

There are other suppliers within a three mile radius and still others located further in the state, Hassan says.

Adding to the complexity, Canton will building both body-on-frame and unibody vehicles. Helping to sort out the intricacy, the plant is highly automated with 853 robots and 70 laser vision stations.

Plant Facts
Capital investment:$1.43 billion
Production capacity:400,000 vehicles each year
Key dates:Nov. 9, 2000 Nissan announces its plan to build a plant in Canton, Miss.
April 6, 2001Nissan begins construction.
May 27, 2002Job 1 for Quest minivan — the plant’s first vehicle
Employment:2,000 at Job 1
5,300 by mid-2004
Products:Nissan Quest minivan starting May 27, 2003
Nissan Pathfinder Armadafall 2003
Nissan Titanfall 2003
Infiniti full-size SUVearly 2004
Nissan Altimaspring 2004
Suppliers:PPG, Tower, JCI, Dana

Canton Suppliers
North America
frontend modules, exhaust systems, catalytic converters and A/C plumbing
Johnson Controlsseats
Mi-Tech Steelprocess coiled steel
Systems Electro-Coating LLC.a joint venture between PPG Industries and Jackson-based Systems Consultants Associates Inc., applies an anti-corrosion electrodeposition primer to sheet-metal components and parts.
T&WAtire and wheel assemblies
Tower Automotivevehicle frames
Visteon and Lextron JVfront-end modules and cockpit modules
M-TEK Inc.interior trim components including door trim, roof trim, body side trim, garnish moldings and dash insulators
TKA Fabcobody stampings and assemblies
Unipres U.S.A. body stampings
Yorozu Automotivesuspension components
AP Technoglassglass assemblies
Carlex Glassglass assemblies
Douglas Autotechsteering columns
Nissan Tradingfasteners
Yazaki North Americawire harnesses

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