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Nissan’s Smyrna Plant Marks Silver Anniversary

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Nissan’s Smyrna Plant Marks Silver Anniversary [Feb. 3, 06]

25 years since groundbreaking for Nissan’s first U.S. manufacturing facility

SMYRNA, Tenn. (Feb. 3, 2006) – Twenty five years ago today, Nissan executives, state and local officials and area residents gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking in Smyrna, Tenn., for Nissan’s first U.S. manufacturing facility. In the years since then, the Smyrna plant has played an important role in the automotive industry, in the South’s development as an automotive center and in Middle Tennessee’s economic landscape.

With the Smyrna Plant, Nissan brought production of a compact pickup truck to the U.S. In 1981, project plans called for a $300 million, 3.2-million-square-foot facility on 884 acres with a workforce of 1,300. Today, the facility represents a $2.1 billion investment and has expanded to 5.4 million square feet. Nissan employs 6,700 people with 2,400 contract and onsite suppliers. Vehicles produced at the Smyrna Plant include the Nissan Frontier pickup truck, Altima sedan, Xterra sport utility vehicle, Maxima sedan, and Pathfinder sport utility vehicle.

“We’ve achieved a great deal since the Smyrna Plant was just a blueprint,” said Dan Gaudette, senior vice president, North American Manufacturing and Quality Assurance. “With a dedicated workforce and attractive, innovative products, the manufacturing operation has thrived. We’re proud that we’ve been able to make a positive contribution to Nissan globally and to the Middle Tennessee community that’s supported our growth through the years. We’re looking forward to what the next 25 years will bring for Nissan.”

Over the last 25 years, the Smyrna Plant has matured into a productive, highly efficient operation. For the past 12 years, the Smyrna Plant has consistently ranked among the most productive automobile plants in North America, according to the Harbour Report benchmarking study. The plant’s efficiency and flexibility have allowed it to expand from one shift building one truck to two shifts building five vehicles. With the capacity to assemble 550,000 vehicles a year, the plant produces a new model every 28.5 seconds during full production. Production at Smyrna has grown from just under 20,000 vehicles in 1983 to 495,000 vehicles in 2005. (See attached chart.)

As the first automaker located in the Tennessee, Nissan has helped to position the South as an automotive center. Smyrna’s 1981 groundbreaking opened the door for Tennessee to rise to fifth in the nation for vehicle and parts production. Today over 800 automotive-related companies are located in 93 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The industry employs over 159,000 people with a payroll of $6.6 billion. Nissan’s own payroll has grown to just over $500 million at the Smyrna Plant.

Middle Tennessee’s economic landscape has changed since Nissan’s arrival. According to 2004 U.S. Census data, the Smyrna Plant’s home county, Rutherford County, Tenn., was listed as No. 1 in the nation in job growth. Almost 49% of Nissan’s Smyrna employees live in Rutherford County and embrace Nissan’s mission to give back to the communities it serves. For 13 consecutive years, Nissan and its employees have given over $1 million to the United Way. The company also supports numerous humanitarian and educational organizations through charitable and in-kind donations.

Nissan’s manufacturing operations have been key to supporting the company’s global business objectives. The company recently completed the second three-year plan to achieve sustained profitability – NISSAN 180. The goals of the plan were completed successfully as Nissan delivered its commitments to sell 1 million additional units globally, to achieve an 8 percent operating profit margin and to realize 0 automotive debt. During NISSAN Value-Up, the business plan for fiscal years 2005 through 2007, Nissan aims to achieve global sales of 4.2 million units measured in fiscal year 2008, to maintain the top level of operating profit margin among global automakers each year of the plan, and to achieve a 20% return on invested capital on average over the course of the plan.

Link: http://nissannews.com/corporate/news/curre...203104711.shtml

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