DETROIT -- Nissan will add more than 200 U.S. engineers in the next two years to help it keep pace with a growing list of U.S. vehicle programs.
Nissan will add 150 engineers at its suburban Detroit r&d office this year and 50 to 60 more next year, says Carla Bailo, Nissan Technical Center North America president.
"That doesn't even get me to the top of the workload that I'm predicting," Bailo said during an interview here. "I'm still going to have to outsource some of the work."
Bailo, who took over the r&d unit last year, said she is being cautious about hiring engineers.
The suburban Detroit operation employs about 800. But Nissan is expanding in the Americas region and plans to give greater roles to the suburban Detroit office and regional offices in Mexico and Brazil.
For starters, Nissan is on a drive to source a larger percentage of its content outside Japan, where the high value of the yen is making Japanese manufacturing uncompetitive, according to Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Over the next 60 days, Nissan will begin assembling the new Infiniti JX crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. The U.S. team will launch production with 95 percent local content, Bailo said. Some of Nissan's older North America-made products are closer to 70 percent local content.
At the same time, Nissan is putting more vehicles into production in the United States, Mexico and Brazil. In addition to the JX, Nissan is adding the Rogue crossover and electric Leaf at Smyrna, introducing more commercial vehicles, building a plant in Brazil and on the verge of announcing an expanded manufacturing plan for Mexico.