CANTON, Miss. -- Nissan will hire 1,000 more workers for its plant here to reach production goals by the end of 2017, bringing the work force to 7,000.
The automaker's steady sales gains are putting the squeeze on its North American production capacity.
The company's plants in Mississippi, Tennessee and Mexico are all operating on three shifts. John Martin, Nissan North America's senior vice president for manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing, said the November launch of the Murano at Canton will move the plant from production of about 350,000 vehicles this year to 507,000 vehicles in 2017. The Nissan Altima, Titan, Armada, Xterra, Frontier and NV also are built there.
The company's Smyrna, Tenn., plant will produce about 640,000 vehicles this year, including the Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Pathfinder, Rogue and Infiniti QX60.
But those big volumes might not be enough in the next year or two, as Nissan strives to source 85 percent of its North American sales volume from local factories.
The company recently opted to source an additional 80,000 Rogues a year from a Renault-owned factory in South Korea to supply U.S. dealerships.
"We had to ask: Do we really want to invest in Smyrna for additional Rogues when the plant is already bursting at the seams?" Martin said. "Demand is also increasing for the other products we produce there."
Separately, the automaker is expanding its manufacturing footprint in Aguascalientes, Mexico, with a third plant there.
The new $1.4 billion plant, built and operated through a partnership with Daimler, will specifically produce compact luxury vehicles for Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti, with engines supplied from a recently opened Infiniti-Mercedes engine factory in Decherd, Tenn.