Susan Brennan, center, vice president of manufacturing Smyrna-Decherd, speaks to the those gathered at the Job One event for the 2013 Infiniti JX Luxury car at the Nissan plant during its February launch in Smyrna. / Jim Davis/DNJ
SMYRNA — To Infiniti and beyond!
The Nissan plant here could easily adopt Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase as it is now building the state’s first luxury vehicle, and the only Infiniti lineup to be manufactured outside of Japan.
In February, an emerald green 2013 Infiniti JX rolled onto a stage at the Nissan plant to a roar of applause from factory workers, elected officials and Nissan executives.
The all-new, seven-passenger crossover vehicle is the first of its kind to be built in Tennessee, according to Susan Brennan, vice president of manufacturing for the Smyrna and Decherd plants.
“The Infiniti JX is a bold, new expression of seven-passenger luxury,” Brennan said. “It is going to shake up the luxury market. We are extremely proud and honored to be building this world class vehicle right here in Middle Tennessee.”
The Infiniti is also part of a shakeup to the plant’s roster overall and a boost to its workforce. Nissan plans to add 1,000 more jobs to support the new Infiniti product and the Nissan Pathfinder, which will go into production in Smyrna this fall, while the Nissan electric Leaf follows a bit later. Production of the Nissan Xterra and Nissan Frontier will head to Nissan’s Canton, Miss., plant by the end of the year.
Many at the launch of JX said it was the second most important moment in the plant’s history after the first truck to ever roll off the assembly lines back in 1983.
“It’s more than just a car launch. It’s a brand launch,” said Mark Swenson, vice president, production engineering and component facilities, in a video shown at the launch. “The world is going to be watching to see if we measure up. ... Let’s show the world that this team and this plant are second to none.”
The 265-horsepower 3.5 liter DOHC V6 engines for the JX are being built at Nissan’s Decherd plant.
Smyrna Town Manager Mark O’Neal called the JX and the buzz around it “amazing.”
“You hear the excitement and that’s nice. That’s what we need: more excitement in the business community,” he said. “It’s an honor to be out here and experience this.”
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 and 2011 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.
More information about Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.Infiniti.com.
Did you know?
Nissan North America Inc. reported March U.S. sales of 136,317 units versus 121,141 units a year earlier, an increase of 12.5 percent, and a record for any month in the company’s history. Nissan Division sales also set a new sales record, up 14.8 percent for the month at 126,132 units.
Nissan LEAF leaves other EVs behind
The 2012 Nissan LEAF, the world’s first affordable, zero-emission car, continues in its second year of production to lead the drive into the “no gas, no tailpipe” zero-emission era.
Designed specifically for a lithium-ion battery-powered chassis, the Nissan LEAF is a medium-size hatchback that comfortably seats five adults and has a range of 100 miles on one full charge to satisfy real-world consumer requirements.
The vehicle will be assembled in Smyrna beginning later this year.
Enhancements for the 2012 model year include the addition of a standard battery heater, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, heated outside mirrors and rear HVAC duct on all models. Also, a Quick Charge Port is now standard on the LEAF SL.
Accolades adding up
• The Environmental Protection Agency has rated the Nissan LEAF as “best” in the mid-size vehicle class for fuel efficiency and “best” for the environment with a 99 miles-per-gallon equivalency rating (combined city/highway), along with a rating of 106 MPG city and 92 MPG highway.
• Nissan LEAF was named “2011 World Car of the Year,” edging out the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8 for the top spot.
• Nissan LEAF’s 100-percent electric, zero-emission drive system is included on Ward’s Auto World magazine’s prestigious “10 Best Engines” list for 2011.
• Nissan LEAF was also chosen as one of the 2011’s “10 most transformative products” by a panel of experts in addition to members of the Popular Mechanics magazine’s editorial board of advisers.
• The 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF has earned a 5-star overall vehicle rating for safety as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).
Nissan North America - Smyrna
983 Nissan Drive
Smyrna, TN 37167
Phone: (615) 459-1400
Production at Nissan’s Smyrna plant began in June 1983. The vehicle assembly plant has an annual production capacity of 550,000 vehicles and represents a capital investment of $2.5 billion. The plant produces the Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Xterra, Nissan Frontier and Nissan Pathfinder, as well as the Infiniti JX. It will produce the Nissan LEAF in late 2012.