Dan Bednarzyk, vice president of Nissan manufacturing in Canton and Mississippi governor Phil Bryant celebrate the plants 10th anniversary and announce planned production of the redesigned Murano

Dan Bednarzyk, vice president of Nissan manufacturing in Canton and Mississippi governor Phil Bryant celebrate the plant's 10th anniversary and announce planned production of the redesigned Murano

Having previously said it would transfer production of the North America-only Rogue compact crossover from Japan to the market it's sold in this year, Nissan is now moving the next generation Murano, a larger crossover, to its decade-old assembly plant in Mississippi in 2014.

Nissan currently produces the Murano in Kanda, Fukuoka Prefecture, in the southwestern Japan region of Kyushu. Output in 2011 was about 78,000 units, about 70% of which were exported to North America.

The controversially styled Murano was introduced in 2002. European sales were miniscule until a diesel version was introduced with a mid-life facelift several years ago.

"As Nissan's flagship crossover, it remains one of the company's most important vehicles," the automaker said.

Nissan is greatly expanding North American car manufacturing towards its goal of 85% of local sales. Its Decherd powertrain factory in Tennessee last year added 90 jobs to make electric motors for the Leaf - which went into production at Nissan's other US assembly plant in Smyrna, also in Tennessee this week - and a partnership with Daimler will produce 250,000 engines a year for both automakers at Decherd in 2014, creating up to 400 jobs. Next September, Leaf battery pack output starts in Smyrna, eventually reaching 200,000 a year. 

The Canton plant recently added 1,000 jobs to make body on frame trucks as well as cars including the redesigned Sentra. Total Mississippi state employment alone is now about 4,500.

Canton began in 2003 with one model and now builds seven, including the Altima, Armada full-size SUV, Xterra mid-size SUV, Titan and Frontier pickup trucks and NV commercial and passenger vans.

US Murano output next year will require "several hundred employees for production", Nissan added.

A concept crossover set for unveiling at the Detroit show on Monday (14 January) will, Nissan said, reveal styling cues for its future crossovers. The entry-level Juke, imported from Japan, is also sold in the US; the rest-of-world equivalent of the Rogue, on the same platform, is the Qashqai/Dualis, built mainly in the UK but also Japan and China.

Nissan Americas vice chairman Bill Krueger said: "With the addition of this new model in Canton, Nissan is well on its way toward meeting our goal to manufacture 85% of the vehicles we sell in the US right here in North America."

Show the press release

Nissan Rewards Canton with Sourcing for Next-Generation Murano Crossover
Announcement comes as company celebrates a decade of manufacturing in Mississippi
CANTON, Miss. - Nissan  today announced its Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant has earned the sourcing contract to build the next-generation Murano crossover, which comes as Nissan begins celebrating 10 years of manufacturing in Mississippi.

Since it was established in 2003, the Nissan Canton facility has become a cornerstone of Nissan's North American manufacturing operations. Over the past decade, Nissan Canton has grown from building one model to seven, including the award-winning Altima, the Armada full-size SUV, the Xterra mid-size SUV, the Titan and Frontier pickup trucks and NV commercial and passenger vans.

Introduced in 2002, the Murano has stood out as one of the most distinctively styled vehicles in its class both inside and out. As Nissan's flagship crossover, it remains one of the company's most important vehicles. Beginning in 2014, the Murano will be the eighth vehicle built in Canton and will require several hundred employees for production.

The new Nissan Murano will showcase a progressive crossover design, and the company will unveil styling cues for future Nissan crossovers on a concept vehicle debuting at the North American International Auto Show on Jan. 14.

"As we look back on ten years of manufacturing in Canton, it's become clear throughout the Nissan network that 'Made in Mississippi' is a stamp of quality and great people," said Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas. "With the addition of this new model in Canton, Nissan is well on its way toward meeting our goal to manufacture 85 percent of the vehicles we sell in the U.S. right here in North America."

When the plant opened Nissan became the largest private-sector employer in the region and has since brought even more high-skilled, well-paying jobs to the community while maintaining a diverse workforce that has drawn employees from 80 of Mississippi's 82 counties.  

Today, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant showed support for Canton's growth plans alongside Nissan's senior leadership, hundreds of 10-year plant employees and members of the non-profit and faith-based communities.

"Nissan continues to exceed our expectations, and I greatly value the contributions the company has made in Mississippi," Governor Bryant said. "Over the last ten years, Nissan has had a tremendous economic impact on central Mississippi, has catalyzed our state's automotive industry and has continued to grow its Mississippi operations. I appreciate Nissan's trust in our workforce, and I believe it led to the company's decision to produce the new Murano in Canton, further demonstrating Mississippi's strength as a manufacturing location."

During the past 10 years, Nissan has been a strong community partner as well. The company has contributed more than $5 million to charitable organizations in the Metro Jackson area. Nissan is a proud corporate citizen of the state of Mississippi and remains committed to supporting the communities where its employees live and work.

"A decade ago, we opened the doors of this plant and immediately became one of the region's largest private-sector employers," said Dan Bednarzyk, vice president of manufacturing and plant manager at Nissan Canton.  "To us, that meant we were not only providing thousands of jobs and making a long-term investment to the state and to the region, but that Nissan was also going to become a strong corporate partner in central Mississippi giving back and making a difference in our communities."

Original source: Nissan US media