May 28, 2003
Production begins at Nissan’s new plant in Mississippi
Canton, Mississippi – Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn joined more than 2,000 employees and guests at a launch event yesterday marking the start of production at the company’s new $1.4 billion (U.S.) assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi. With the capacity to produce 400,000 vehicles a year, the facility will build the Nissan Quest minivan, Nissan Pathfinder Armada sport utility vehicle, Nissan Titan King Cab and Crew Cab full-size trucks, Nissan Altima sedan and Infiniti full-size sport utility vehicle.
“This is Nissan’s revival plant,” said Ghosn. “Three years ago, when Nissan’s mere survival was in question, the Nissan Revival Plan provided the resources needed to build this plant. It’s a different story today, and Canton is set to play a significant part in our company’s future.
“The vehicles built in Canton will significantly expand our product lineup in North America,” he added. “The employee team here will produce attractive, competitive vehicles to be marketed in high-volume, high-profit segments — many of which are segments where Nissan has not competed before.”
As the first automaker in Mississippi, Nissan’s Canton Plant heralds the beginning of the automotive industry in the state. The Canton Plant currently has 1,950 employees; in mid-2004, when full production is reached, the plant will employ 5,300 people. Additional jobs are being created by Nissan supplier companies and businesses that will support operations at the Canton Plant.
The new plant will be an important contributor to Nissan 180, the company’s three-year business plan aimed to establish sustainable, profitable growth. The plan has three commitments: to achieve 1 million additional sales worldwide by the end of fiscal year 2004, compared to fiscal year 2001; to achieve an 8% operating margin; and to achieve zero net automotive debt, using constant accounting standards. On May 21, the company reported fiscal year 2002 record operating profits of $6.04 billion, an industry-leading 10.8% operating margin and the total elimination of its debt. The commitment to increase sales by 1 million units will be supported by the Canton Plant.
In April 2001, plant construction began on the 1,400-acre site located 15 miles north of Jackson. Before the initial construction was completed, Nissan announced plans to expand the plant for the production of the Nissan Altima sedan, which is also manufactured in Smyrna, Tennessee. The Canton Plant currently covers 3.5 million square feet.
The first vehicle to be produced is the 2004 Nissan Quest minivan. The Quest is scheduled to go on sale at Nissan dealerships in July 2003.