Nissan, the state's largest auto manufacturer, says it wants to produce more than 500-thousand vehicles at its Mississippi plant by 2017. The announcement comes the same day as Nissan rolled a new line of crossover SUV's off its Canton production line.
Nine different vehicles are now produced in Mississippi. Eight of which are made at Nissan Motor Company's Canton facility. The plant currently makes about 300-thousand cars a year, and now that Nissan has shifted production of its popular Murano line from Japan to Mississippi, executives believe production will dramatically increase.
John Martin is Nissan's senior vice president for manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing. He says the production of the Murano fulfills a promise that Nissan made when it constructed the Canton facility over a decade ago.
"By 2015 we made a commitment that 85 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States would be made in North America," says Martin. "This car makes true that promise."
With the production of the Murano also comes news that Nissan is again expanding its Canton operations by adding the production of a revamped Titan pick-up truck. Martin says production will have to increase to meet sales demands.
"This plant will up its productivity significantly," Martin says. "480 is our current capacity here' so to build to 507 we do a couple of crazy tricks. Right now, I've got 6,000. I put on another shift; it'd be about another 1000 people."
Governor Phil Bryant used the Murano launch to unveil a proposed initiative that aims to prepare students for more manufacturing jobs like the ones being created by Nissan.
"Children who are looking forward to being in advanced manufacturing begins in the 10th grade," says Bryant. "What I think we ought to do is say 'if you're completing that tech-prep program in high school we ought to be able to give you a two-year scholarship to a community college in tech-prep.' What we've got to do is value and encourage young people who want to go into manufacturing industry in Mississippi."
To accommodate the extra production, Nissan says it will have to also expand the facility itself. A project that could pump another 400 million dollars into the economy.