Nissan shifts Murano to Mississippi
NASHVILLE -- Living up to his promise to lessen reliance on expensive Japanese manufacturing to compete in North America, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has ordered production of the Murano crossover shifted from Japan to Canton, Miss.
Murano production in Canton, which is to export the vehicle to 100 global markets, is to begin in the second half of 2014, Nissan said.
The decision to shift output to Canton, announced last week, continued a string of Nissan production changes to escape the strong yen. The Murano will become the eighth model built in Canton, and the third nameplate that Ghosn has shifted out of Japan in recent months.
About 90 percent of Muranos are made at the company's Kyushu plant in southwestern Japan. In 2011, about 70 percent of that plant's output was exported to the United States. Muranos are also built in China and Russia.
Nissan's factory in Smyrna, Tenn., this month began regular commercial production of the electric Leaf, which has been struggling to compete in the United States since Nissan began importing it from Japan in December 2010. This year, Smyrna also will launch production of the Rogue crossover, currently imported from Japan.
Ghosn has vowed to move production of Nissan Motor Co.'s luxury Infiniti vehicles out of Japan. It is unclear how much output will be moved. Last year, Infiniti began sourcing the new JX crossover from Smyrna. Last month, the company said it will build a new entry-class Infiniti in the United Kingdom.
Nissan is building a $2 billion factory in Mexico, but has not said what models will be built there. And Ghosn told reporters in November that he is contemplating another North American factory to begin production in 2017.
Nissan sold 51,675 Muranos in the United States last year, down 4 percent from 2011. But the company believes it can do better when the Murano is redesigned next year.
Nissan was slated to show a Murano design concept at the Detroit auto show this week.
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