As part of newly announced plans to expand its production footprint in Smyrna, Tennessee, Nissan North America is building a 140,000 sq.m integrated logistics centre that will handle inbound production parts.
The carmaker is investing $160m in the total expansion at Smyrna, which includes a supplier park designed to encourage and support its tier suppliers on-site. The company is targeting approximately a dozen suppliers to fill initial vacancies at the park. Current plans for the project call for construction of an integrated logistics centre that will be located on the Smyrna campus and is more than 1.5m sq.ft (139,000 sq.m) in size. The integrated logistics center will serve as an immediate space for suppliers and be used for multiple purposes supporting operations including inbound production parts and outbound returnable containers.
"This project supports Nissan’s broader localisation goal of building where we sell," said a spokesperson for Nissan. "By the end of 2015, 85% of vehicles sold in the US will be built in North America."
The investment in the logistics centre is part of a recent strategy to increase local supplier sourcing as well as to bring supplier operations closer to final assembly.
The carmaker has been bringing in a lot of components from low-cost countries but is now focusing on moving its suppliers nearer its US assembly plants, a shift back to the more traditional on-site supplier concept.
Nissan announced the return to its previous logistics strategy last year in the wake of a number of factors that impacted the secure supply of parts to it manufacturing facilities including the destructive tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand and unpredictable foreign currency changes. It follows from a similar strategy to Nissan's plant in Canton, Mississippi, where several suppliers have operated on-site since 2003, but last year the carmaker opened a similarly sized 140,000 sq.m supplier centre on site to better accommodate them.
"Today marks an exciting new chapter in our more than 31-year partnership with the state of Tennessee as we continue our localisation and investment efforts in the United States,” said José Muñoz, executive vice-president of Nissan Motor. “This project is a key component to the long-term sustainability of our US business as we close in on a goal of 10% US market share.”
Work on the project is expected to begin later this year, and be completed by the end of 2017.
In 2014, the Smyrna plant assembled more than 648,000 vehicles, making it the highest producing automotive assembly plant in North America. Production for the all-new 2016 Maxima will begin there later this year. The plant also builds the Altima, Maxima, Leaf EV, Rogue crossover, Pathfinder SUV and Infiniti QX60 luxury crossover.