Nissan Officially Announces Plant Expansion

Nissan's expansion at its Mississippi manufacturing plant will add 1,300 jobs and increase the planned annual production from 250,000 to 400,000 vehicles, company officials said Monday.

The announcement came days after state lawmakers approved a $68 million package of incentives. The first phase of the plant is set to open in spring 2003, and the second phase is scheduled to open a year later.

"The extension of our plant in Canton is consistent with Nissan's strategy to increase presence in North America,'' Emil Hassan, Nissan's senior vice president of North American manufacturing, purchasing, quality and logistics, said in prepared statement.

The plant near Canton, about 15 miles north of Jackson, will build full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles for Nissan and Infiniti and the next generation Nissan Quest minivan. In 2004, the plant will start building the Altima sedan.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove joined Nissan executives at a Capitol news conference Monday to announce the company's expansion.

In November 2000, Mississippi lawmakers approved a $295 million incentive package to lure Nissan to the state.

The new $68 million bond package includes $23.5 million for worker training; $22.5 million for road, water system and other infrastructure improvements; $12 million to prepare the site; and $10 million for a vehicle preparation facility.