YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan is adding a new auto plant to the U.S. to keep up with growing demand for electric vehicles, a top executive at the Japanese automaker said Friday.
“It may not be a surprise, we have a third plant to go to,” Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta told reporters at Yokohama headquarters.
Nissan Motor Co. Now we have two auto plants in the US One in Canton, Mississippi, the Titan pickup truck and the Altima sedan, among other models. The other in Smyrna, Tennessee, makes the Leaf electric car, the Pathfinder sport utility vehicle and other models.
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Each of the plants employs a large number of workers and manufactured Nissan vehicles.
The third plant would not just be an added plant, but an entirely new facility, but it may be an extension of an existing plant, Gupta said. That would add several thousand jobs in the area, but its realization would be down the road for some years.
“The importance of localization will increase year on year,” Gupta said.
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Depending on the region, customers may receive incentives for buying electric vehicles, and the fluctuating foreign exchange rate may also make localized production more desirable, according to Gupta.
His comments come a day after the Nissan reported profitability for the first time in three fiscal years, stemming from the overall auto industry’s short-sighted chips related to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nissan, allied with Renault SA of France, recorded a profit of $ 215.5 billion yen ($ 1.7 billion) through the fiscal year of March, a reversal from the $ 448.7 billion yen loss the previous fiscal year.
Gupta’s comments also reflect a growing shift towards ecological vehicles supporting sustainable forms of energy and transportation amid worries about climate change.
Gupta said Nissan, as an alliance partner, would support the Renault in its recently floated idea to spin off its electric vehicle division. But he made a clear Nissan.
“It’s too early to say we are in one direction,” he said.
Nissan’s products were more diversified because it had key markets in China and North America, he said.
Nissan at the future leadership of Gupta declined to comment on the task that had been charged with special company commitments.
Nissan has focused on strengthening its corporate governance after Carlos Ghosn, who led Nissan for two years, was arrested on criminal charges in 2018. Ghosn says he is innocent. He jumped bail and fled to Lebanon, his ancestry of the nation.
Takaki Nakanishi, an auto analyst with Jefferies, said Nissan’s financial results were within expectations, but he thought its target of selling 4 million vehicles this fiscal year was conservative.
“There is volume in the upside for opportunity, in our view,” he said in a report.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama