The first Mississippi-built Nissan Altima sedan came off the assembly line on Monday, becoming the fifth vehicle in Canton’s production line and concluding the plant’s aggressive start-up schedule.


“Our team did an excellent job accomplishing a very difficult task,” said Dave Boyer, vice president for manufacturing in Canton.


The Mississippi plant can build about 150,000 Altimas a year, and will supplement production from the Smyrna, Tennessee, plant. Canton’s total annual capacity is 400,000 units.


The new Canton plant produced its first vehicle last year. The Quest minivan rolled off the line on May 27, 2003, and the plant went on to make claimed automotive history by launching five all-new products on time in less than a year. The Armada full-size SUV was launched in August, the Titan full-size pickup truck in October and the Infiniti QX56 full-size SUV in January. The plant’s aggressive launch schedule is one of several key components in Nissan’s global expansion strategy.


Nissan has invested about $US4 billion in its three US manufacturing facilities. The Smyrna plant builds the Maxima sports sedan, the Xterra compact SUV, the Frontier compact truck and the Altima. Beginning this autumn, the Pathfinder SUV will join the line. In Decherd, Tennessee, Nissan builds engines for all US-produced vehicles and assembles transaxles.