Nissan North America has said for years that its rising U.S. sales will consume its available factory capacity, making it necessary to build another North American assembly plant. Late last year, Jose Munoz, Nissan's global chief performance officer, said the automaker has reached that point and is out of space for growth.
But he offered no timetable about the next investment. Nissan's 35-year-old plant in Smyrna, Tenn., may be the first site to get a capacity relief.
That multiproduct factory has different generations of processes working in various spots in the line, and relies on a complex schedule to bring sedans, crossovers and electric cars down a shared production line, despite different build times and dissimilar parts content.
But where now? Nissan has been an investment leader in building capacity in Mexico over the past decade. But given the current anti-import mood in Washington, Mexico is not a likely bet for the next assembly site.