Now, Nissan has made a similar announcement. According to a press release, the next-generation Nissan Murano crossover will be built in Canton, Mississippi, rather than Kyushu, Japan. Though Nissan hasn't releases specifics about the process, the company does say that adding the Murano to Canton's production schedule will "require several hundred employees".
The Murano will join a growing lineup of vehicles produced in Canton, including the Nissan Altima, Armada, Frontier, Titan, and Xterra. And just a few hundred miles to the north, Nissan workers in Smyrna, Tennessee have begun manufacturing the Nissan Leaf.
Why the shift? As you might expect, it comes down to economics.
While there's something to be said for consolidating production near a home-base, for large companies that export to international markets, it often makes sense to manufacture products closer to the point of consumption. This is one of the factors influencing Jeep to consider re-opening facilities in China: when demand reaches a certain level, manufacturing and exporting large quantities of products becomes a losing game.
The financial picture is even more complicated for Japanese automakers because of the strong yen, which makes production in Japan an expensive proposition. In fact, so much of Honda's manufacturing has moved stateside that by 2015, Honda could be as "American" as Detroit automakers by 2015.
Will other Japanese automakers boost production in North America? We wouldn't be surprised. We'll keep you posted.
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