DETROIT -- Nissan North America's mission to slash the amount spent on parts it imports from Japan is a tall order for its U.S. purchasing team. But it will be made easier by having local decision-making on North American purchasing issues, says Catherine Perez, the automaker's vice president of purchasing.
Perez told the Automotive News World Congress that an unstable dollar-yen currency exchange "is the one thing that keeps me awake at night."
Nissan plans to cut in half the amount of parts paid for in yen by early 2014, along with the number of vehicles it imports from Japan. The yen has risen dramatically in value against the dollar in recent years, which makes it more expensive to buy parts in Japan for U.S. use.
Perez told Automotive News that the reduction will require Nissan's Tennessee purchasing group to review all the parts now being sourced from Japan. "They are parts that run all across the spectrum, from powertrain components to electrical parts," she said.
Some of Nissan's North America-made vehicles are now 96 to 97 percent locally sourced, Perez said. Some of the parts targeted for localization will have to be re-sourced to U.S. companies.
"Some of these parts have never been localized because the supplier doesn't have a manufacturing affiliate over here," she said. "Or perhaps the affiliate had no capacity to produce the part.
"In some cases, it was because a U.S. company didn't have the technical ability to make the part. Maybe it wasn't worth the cost of investment to tool up and produce it.
"We will look at all of that now."