250,000-unit Plant Confirms Nissan's Expansion in North America

Nissan today announced it will build a $930 million manufacturing plant in Madison County, Miss. This marks Nissan's first significant step toward building lasting profitable growth under the Nissan Revival Plan (NRP).

"This move would not have been possible without the quick start and strong performance unleashed by the NRP," Carlos Ghosn, president of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., stated at a news conference at the State Capitol in Jackson. Last week, Nissan released preliminary first half financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, with net income of $1.58 billion (170.2 billion yen), the best six-month period in a decade.

Construction of the 250,000-unit plant located 15 miles north of Jackson is scheduled to begin in April of 2001. When fully operational, the plant will employ up to 4,000 people. Production of the first vehicle is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2003.

The plant will produce a full-size pickup truck, a full-size sport-utility vehicle and the next generation Nissan minivan. These all-new vehicles will enable Nissan to enter the popular full-size truck and SUV segment as well as enhance its presence in the minivan market in the United States.

"Without this investment, we cannot expand our lineup in North America and grow our business," Mr. Ghosn added. "Building the right products in the right markets is a basic ingredient to create a foundation for solid profitable growth. It will allow us to increase our responsiveness to the market, decrease our costs and reduce our exposure to currency fluctuations."

"Mississippi is proud to welcome Nissan as a leading corporate citizen," said Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. "We look forward to the job opportunities and positive economic impact that will be created by Nissan, as well as Nissan's outstanding record of producing high-quality vehicles and supporting state and local community activities.

"Nissan is a dynamic company with vibrant global presence, one that is committed to profitable growth," Musgrove added. "We are excited that the people of Mississippi will play a part in that growth."

The factors that led to the selection of the Mississippi site include an available, high-quality work force, a good site and infrastructure, a supportive business climate, and excellent cooperation and commitment from leaders at the state, local and federal levels.

Nissan's investment for this plant is in addition to the $1 billion planned in the next four years to expand its engine production capabilities in Decherd, Tenn., and maximize vehicle production capacity utilization at its Smyrna, Tenn. plant. The new plant will join existing North American vehicle manufacturing facilities in Smyrna and Aguascalientes and Cuernavaca, Mexico, bringing Nissan's capacity in North America to 1.15 million units.

This fiscal year the company is well on track to sell the 1 million units it has forecast in North America, based on its current lineup.

For the period of fiscal year 2000 though 2002, the U.S. will receive 10 new products of the 22 Nissan has announced globally under the NRP. These products will come even before the vehicles from this facility begin to hit the market in 2003. Nissan has decided on this investment, also taking into consideration its forecast that the U.S. market will soften in the short and mid-term.

The company commented that the investment for the plant will not change its commitment to reduce net automotive debt to less than 700 billion yen ($6.54 billion) by FY 2002. In the preliminary financial announcement made last week, Nissan revealed it was well on target with its plan to retire net automotive debt. Nissan is working with the state of Mississippi and global banking partners to optimize the funding structure of the investment.

Nissan's first full-size pickup and SUV and the next-generation minivan will join a lineup of award-winning vehicles, including the Xterra sport-utility vehicle, Frontier compact pickup, Frontier Crew Cab and Pathfinder. Nissan introduced the first compact import truck to North America in 1959 and has continued to offer innovative products in the compact truck segment ever since.