TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Nissan Motor Co. plans to spread its flexible powertrain manufacturing techniques from Japan to its factories in North America and China, Yoshimasa Yamamoto said Monday at the Management Briefing Seminars.
The biggest issue is localization, said Yamamoto, general manager of Nissans powertrain production engineering division. Yamamoto is in charge of carrying the Nissan Production Way -- the automakers production system -- from Japan to other markets.
In part, that is because the in-sequence production of powertrains is a relatively new accomplishment by Nissan in Japan. Nissan introduced its so-called douki-seisan production system in 1997. The term means same-time production.
Nissans powertrain operations are launching several new or redesigned engines as part of its Value-Up business plan for 2005-2007.
Nissan is adding powertrain facilities in North America to allow it to replicate its Japan production methods here.
The automaker is localizing production of continuously variable transmissions at Jatco Mexico. Nissan has a controlling interest in Jatco Ltd. Jatco built a plant next to Nissans Mexican assembly complexs engine plant. It will supply CVTs to Nissans factories in Mexico; Canton, Miss.; and Smyrna, Tenn. Production starts in October.
Nissan also is adding a crankshaft forging plant at its Decherd, Tenn., powertrain complex. It was a difficult decision to take it overseas, Yamamoto said, because of the high volume needed to justify the investment. The plant will start production in August 2006.
An engine plant also is being built in China. It will start production next year. Nissan builds 1.2 million engines in North America --360,000 in Mexico and 840,000 in the United States.
Depending on the need as it arises, we could consider adding more capacity, Yamamoto said. We are considering replacing some of the engines now in production in line with the Value-Up plan.
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