Nissan Technical Centre North America (NTCNA) is to embark on a $US38.8 million expansion of its research and engineering facility northwest of Detroit to enhance the company’s worldwide vehicle development capabilities.

During the next two years, more than 260 new jobs will be created at the technical centre, nearly all of them relatively high-wage, high-skill engineering and technical positions. Additional job growth is possible further into the future.

“As Nissan focuses on long-term, profitable growth, there is a need for expanded and enhanced vehicle engineering capabilities for vehicles sold in North America,” said NTCNA president Mitsuhiko Yamashita.

During the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2003, Nissan will introduce 12 all-new vehicles worldwide, with six of them coming to North America. Those vehicles include the 350Z sports car, the Maxima flagship sedan and the Murano crossover vehicle, along with the Infiniti G35 Coupe, the M45 mid-size luxury sedan and the FX45 crossover vehicle.

In the next fiscal year, Nissan launch in North America an all-new minivan replacing the current Quest built by Ford, a full-size pickup truck and full-size Nissan and Infiniti sport-utility vehicles.

“This puts a significant and welcome responsibility on NTCNA,” Yamashita said.

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The NTCNA expansion project involves new construction and the addition of new capabilities within the current facility. Included in the plan are:

An overall investment of about $38.8 million.

A total of 100,700 square feet of new space consisting of a new three-story engineering building, a new styling studio building and a new testing operations building.

Reconstruction of some existing office space.

Modifications of infrastructure and support areas.

Additional parking lots and access roads.

NTNCA currently employs about 550 people at its Farmington Hills facility and work connected with the expansion begins immediately. Construction of the new engineering building, the largest part of the project, will be completed by the end of 2003.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has joined the City of Farmington Hills in providing inducements for the expansion of the Nissan facility.

NTCNA is the US vehicle development arm of Nissan Japan and, as well as the technical centre in Farmington, has facilities in Los Angeles and Sacramento, California, Stanfield, Arizona, and Smyrna, Tennessee.