Nissan Mulls Shifting Some Production to North America

March 25, 2011
Tennessee plant might be called on to make up for lost engine production.

Nissan yesterday said it is considering moving production of its VQ V-6 engines to its Decherd, Tenn., powertrain assembly plant to make up for lost production at its facility in hard-hit Iwaki, Japan.

The Iwaki facility is Nissan's only facility in Japan still offline after a 9.0 earthquake rocked the nation's east coast on March 11. The automaker noted that its Oppama, Tochigi, Kyushu, Yokohama, Nissan Shatai and Nissan Shatai Kyushu facilities are producing vehicles and parts while supply inventories last.

"As for the Iwaki engine plant, aftershocks are still heavily impacting the region, but as infrastructure such as electricity and water are gradually being re-established, restoration of the facility is accelerating," Nissan said today in a news release.

Nissan also noted that production of its Leaf electric vehicle and batteries resumed yesterday at its Oppama assembly and Zama battery plants.

"The ability to sustain production will depend to a large degree on the frequency of rolling blackouts due to electricity shortages," the automaker said.

In North, South and Central America, Nissan said "manufacturing operations intend to follow a normal production schedule through at least April 1."

Nissan noted that its operations in Mexico, Canada and Brazil "do not expect to be impacted by any supply or production constraints at this time."

The automaker said it has not decided whether to shift engine production to its Decherd plant. The facility manufactures engines for all Nissan and Infiniti vehicles produced in the United States.

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Follow IndustryWeek senior editor Josh Cable on Twitter at @JCable_IW .

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