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May 28, 2003
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Nissan Inaugurates New Plant In Canton, Miss.

Nissan expands North American lineup with new minivan, full-size trucks/SUVs

Photo: Nissan

Nissan Motor Company President Carlos Ghosn and Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove celebrate the partnership between Nissan and Mississippi. Together they introduce the first 2004 Nissan Quest minivan and the beginning of production at the all-new Canton Mississippi Plant.

CANTON, Miss. - Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn today joined more than 2,000 employees and guests at a launch event marking the start of production at the company's new $1.4 billion assembly plant in Canton, Miss. With the capacity to produce 400,000 vehicles a year, the facility will build the Nissan Quest minivan, Nissan Pathfinder Armada sport utility vehicle, Nissan Titan King Cab and Crew Cab full-size trucks, Nissan Altima sedan and Infiniti full-size sport utility vehicle.


"This is Nissan's revival plant," said Ghosn. "Three years ago, when Nissan's mere survival was in question, the Nissan Revival Plan provided the resources needed to build this plant. It's a different story today, and Canton is set to play a significant part in our company's future.

"The vehicles built in Canton will significantly expand our product lineup in North America," he added. "The employee team here will produce attractive, competitive vehicles to be marketed in high-volume, high-profit segments -- many of which are segments where Nissan has not competed before."

As the first automaker in Mississippi, Nissan's Canton Plant heralds the beginning of the automotive industry in the state. The Canton Plant currently has 1,950 employees; in mid-2004, when full production is reached, the plant will employ 5,300 people. Additional jobs are being created by Nissan supplier companies and businesses that will support operations at the Canton Plant.

"We are proud to welcome Nissan to Mississippi, as we celebrate the opening of a project nearly three years in the making," said Gov. Musgrove. "This facility, our people working in it and the product we are building are all focused on excellence. We are looking forward to a long and healthy partnership with Nissan and the mutual benefits that will result from that partnership."

The new plant will be an important contributor to NISSAN 180, the company's three-year business plan aimed to establish sustainable, profitable growth. The plan has three commitments: to achieve 1 million additional sales worldwide by the end of fiscal year 2004, compared to fiscal year 2001; to achieve an 8% operating margin; and to achieve zero net automotive debt, using constant accounting standards. On May 21, the company reported fiscal year 2002 record operating profits of $6.04 billion, an industry-leading 10.8% operating margin and the total elimination of its debt. The commitment to increase sales by 1 million units will be supported by the Canton Plant.

In April 2001, plant construction began on the 1,400-acre site located 15 miles north of Jackson. Before the initial construction was completed, Nissan announced plans to expand the plant for the production of the Nissan Altima sedan, which is also manufactured in Smyrna, Tenn. The Canton Plant currently covers 3.5 million square feet.

The first vehicle to be produced is the 2004 Nissan Quest minivan. The Quest is scheduled to go on sale at more than 1,100 Nissan dealers nationwide in July 2003.

"The Quest is the first of the 10 all-new models Nissan will launch globally in fiscal year 2003," said Ghosn. "The Quest and the following new models made in Canton will make a significant contribution to our objective to sell 852,000 vehicles in the U.S. this year."

Nissan has invested nearly $4 billion in its three U.S. manufacturing facilities. In addition to the Canton Plant, Nissan's plant in Smyrna, Tenn., builds Nissan Maxima sports sedans, Nissan Xterra sport utility vehicles, Nissan Frontier pickup trucks and Nissan Altima midsize sedans. In Decherd, Tenn., employees machine components and assemble transaxles and all the vehicle engines for Nissan's U.S. manufacturing plants.

Nissan provides unique and innovative automotive products and services that deliver superior measurable values to all stakeholders in alliance with Renault. Recognizing its 70th anniversary this year, Nissan Motor is currently at the top level of profitable automakers in the global automotive industry. Employing 125,000 people worldwide, Nissan plans to design, produce and sell over 3 million passenger cars and commercial vehicles in more than 190 countries in fiscal year 2003.

(May 27, 2003)

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