The brand new Nissan Murano crossover will be revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in next week, and it will be made right here in Mississippi.
Nissan Motor Co. announced Thursday it will start making the new vehicle late next year at its plant in Canton.
Officials said an additional shift will be added to the truck line at the plant, and approximately 400 jobs will be created.
The Murano crossover will be the eighth model assembled at the Canton plant.
"This is by far the most complex portfolio of vehicles that we have, but it is part of the Nissan DNA to have a very diverse product line up in our facilities. So that when there are market shifts or economic shifts, we're able to respond," said Vice Chairman of Nissan Americas Bill Krueger.
Krueger went on to say, "We want to make sure we're building the products where we're selling them, and the Murano has been a great contribution to our U.S. sales for many, many years. And this now allows us, by localizing it, to be more responsive to the market place and be more competitive."
Nissan says that flexibility is the reason no one was laid off in Canton during the recent global economic recession.
The state offered millions in incentives to lure Nissan, creating a new formula for job growth.
"It was the forward, to get high-tech industry, the automobile corridor within the Southeast. Toyota followed, of course. Other opportunities, I think, are still out there. So, this was the beginning, this changed the dynamic for economic development in Mississippi," said Gov. Phil Bryant.
Currently the plant, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, employs 5,000 people. The company also lays claim to an additional 2,000 indirect jobs.
"Making eight different vehicles here at the Canton plant puts us on a world stage with automobile manufacturers," Bryant said.
When asked to describe the success of the plant and why the additional auto lines have been added Dan Bednarzyk, Vice President for Manufacturing for Nissan Canton Operations, said, "Our performance, just purely our performance."
Bednarzyk says it's rare for any auto manufacturing plant in to have seven lines, much less eight.
Nissan executives touted employee performance as the driving force behind the Murano line. With that in mind they introduced two employee incentive programs. The first is, The Pathway Program. It will set out a clearer route for temporary workers at the plant to join the ranks of Nissan's full-time employees.
Thursday the company also announced a "Nissan Tuition Reimbursement Program" to help employees earn degrees. Krueger says details will be announced in a couple of months. He says plans have been in the works for a while, as attempts to form a United Auto Workers union at the plant.
Nissan officials say the production of the new Sentra will begin in the near future.
The Madison County plant has the capability of producing 450,000 vehicles a year.
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