KAMINOKAWA, Japan – Nissan’s most advanced factory yet takes production of green vehicles to a higher level, delivering efficient, flexible manufacturing firepower to make next-generation EVs, including the highly-anticipated Ariya crossover.
The so-called Nissan Intelligent Factory, shown to reporters for the first time Friday, deploys a host of new production methods, including several world-first techniques, to enable a 10 percent production cost improvement over older methods, despite building more complex vehicles.
A key innovation is a new powertrain assembly technique called SUMO, short for simultaneous underfloor mounting operation. It foreshadows Nissan’s approach to next-gen EV production.
The Intelligent Factory has already begun pre-production of the Ariya at Nissan Motor Co.’s Tochigi assembly plant north of Tokyo, replacing a Line 2 that used to make some of Nissan and Infiniti’s top-tier products.
Tochigi’s Line 1 now hosts consolidated output of such vehicles as the Nissan GT-R and Z sports cars as well as Infiniti models. The all-electric Ariya is set to go on sale this winter.
The Intelligent Factory’s three-diamond logo is supposed to represent the “edgy” technologies inside. Nissan’s production engineers spent years developing the new techniques being rolled out.
The goal is to target carbon neutrality and automate production as much as possible. Robots have replaced human workers in a plethora of roles, as Nissan tries to improve productivity and quality and cope with the challenges employers here face due to Japan’s rapidly shrinking workforce.