Nissan has confirmed that it will be moving production of its Murano crossover model from its Kyushu plant in Japan to the US, with the next generation of the vehicle to be produced at its Canton plant in Mississippi from 2014.

The announcement has been made as the Canton plant celebrates the beginning of its tenth year of assembly.

The move will mean a reduction in shipments of around 50,000 units. Nissan sold 51,675 Muranos in North America in 2012 (down 3.6% on 2011).

The Japanese carmaker had played down reports in the Japanese business press last September that it was planning to shift production from Japan as “purely speculative” (read more here).

Initial reports identified the carmaker’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee but in a statement issued last week, Nissan identified its Canton assembly plant as the location. The Murano will be the eighth model assembled there, joining others including the Altima, Armada and Xterra SUVs, and the Titan and Frontier pickups.

Nissan would not comment on what the addition of an eighth model would mean for the inbound supply chain and the logistics required to support the increasing production complexity at Canton.

“With the addition of this new model in Canton, Nissan is well on its way toward meeting our goal to manufacture 85% of the vehicles we sell in the US right here in North America," said Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas.

Nissan is planning to cut exports from Japan by a third and has already announced that Rogue production is being moved to the Smyrna plant in 2014, which will reduce shipments of 100,000 vehicles per year.

North America is by far Nissan’s biggest export market for vehicles. Total Nissan division sales in North America in 2012 hit around 1.02m, of which imports to the region accounted for 274,669.

Nissan has said it will showcase “a progressive crossover design” concept vehicle entitled Resonance, with styling cues for future Nissan crossovers, at the North American International Auto Show, which is taking place this week.

Pictured: Dan Bednarzyk, vice president of Nissan Manufacturing in Canton (left) and Mississippi governor Phil Bryant celebrate the plant's 10th anniversary and announce that the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant has been awarded production of the next-generation Nissan Murano