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Nissan sets July sales record; Toyota sales also increase

August 1st, 2013 No comments

For the second consecutive month, Nissan has set a sales record.

Data the company released Thursday morning show total July sales for Nissan and Infiniti were up 10.9 percent over last year. Total units sold were 109,041.

The Nissan division also set a July record, with 101,279 units sold, up 16.8 percent over July 2012.

Sales of the Sentra compact sedan, which is made in Canton, were up 15.7 percent5, with 11,439 units sold. Sales of another Canton product, the midsize Altima sedan, were up 11 percent, with 29,534 units sold.

The news caps off an eventful week for Nissan’s Canton assembly plant. On Tuesday, officials broke ground on a 1 million square foot supplier park. The park, paid for with a $100 million bond package lawmakers passed last session, is expected to create a total of 800 jobs in advance of the crossover Murano being made in Canton starting next year.

The Madison County Economic Development Authority will issue the bonds. Nissan will service the debt with lease revenue the park’s buildings generate.

Last month, Nissan set a June sales record with 104,124 units sold. Nissan Division sales also set a June record, with 95,010 units sold. That represents a 16.1 percent increase over last June.

Toyota also reported July sales results Thursday. The company said it sold 193,394 units, an increase of 12.6 percent over July 2012. On a raw-volume basis, unadjusted for 25 selling days in July 2013 versus 24 selling days in July 2012, Toyota sales increased 17.3 percent from the year-ago month.

“Solid industry sales in July point to a stable market indicating a recovering economy,” Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, said in a company press release. “Consumer confidence also maintained elevated levels as evidenced by strong retail sales.”

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Nissan breaks ground on supplier park

July 30th, 2013 No comments

Nissan announced Tuesday that it will build a supplier park in Canton.

The park is expected to create a total of 800 jobs – 400 each at the park and at the existing manufacturing facility.

The supplier park will be the first of its kind for Nissan in North America.

Construction of a more than 1 million square-foot integrated logistics center off Nissan Parkway and infrastructure improvements to an existing supplier logistics center at the Canton plant will accommodate future supplier operations.

“Today, we begin an exciting new chapter in Mississippi as we continue our localization and investment efforts in the United States,” Nissan Vice President for Total Delivered Cost Dan Bednarzyk said in a company press release. “Today’s groundbreaking supports our efforts to bring more Nissan cars and trucks to our plant in Mississippi, and means more Mississippi jobs. Additionally, the supplier park will help make us more globally competitive in our Canton, Miss., plant.”

Lawmakers approved in the session that ended in April a $100 million bond package for the park. The Madison County Economic Development Authority will issue the bonds; debt service will be paid by lease revenue generated by the park’s tenants.

The Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance in support of the integrated logistics center for site preparation and infrastructure. To assist with the renovation of the supplier logistics center, MDA provided assistance for building upgrades, modifications and worker training.

“In the 10 years since it began operations, Nissan has become the cornerstone for Mississippi’s automotive industry and has created a model for manufacturing in our state today,” said MDA executive director Brent Christensen. “It is a big part of our mission to assist great companies such as Nissan as they grow and create job opportunities for Mississippi’s residents, and we thank our partners in Madison County who worked with us to help make this project possible.”

Nissan employs more than 5,600 people at the Canton plant. The company first announced plans to construct the manufacturing plant in 2000, and started began production in 2003. The facility has built more than 2.3 million vehicles, with current production of the award-winning Altima, Sentra compact sedan, Armada full-size SUV, Xterra mid-size SUV, Titan and Frontier pickup trucks and NV full-size commercial cargo and passenger vans.

Nissan’s crossover model, the Murano, will become the ninth vehicle produced at the Canton plant beginning in 2014.

Nissan to release expansion plans Tuesday

July 29th, 2013 No comments

Nissan will unveil expansion plans at its Canton manufacturing facility Tuesday morning.

The company has spent most of 2013 celebrating 10 years of production in Mississippi. A company press release did not offer details of what sort of expansion Canton will undergo.

Last legislative session, lawmakers approved and Gov. Phil Bryant signed $100 million worth of bonds for the facility. The Madison County Economic Development Authority will issue the bonds; debt service will be paid by lease revenue Nissan will generate from suppliers in two new buildings planned for the complex.

Expansion plans will be detailed Tuesday at 10 a.m. during a ceremony at the Nissan complex off I-55.

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Nissan sets June sales record

July 2nd, 2013 No comments

Toyota and Nissan each reported Tuesday morning that June sales were up over last year.

Toyota sales were up 14 percent; Nissan’s rose 12.9 percent.

Last month had one more selling day than June 2012.

Nissan’s U.S. sales set a June record, with 104,124 units. Nissan Division sales also set a June record, with 95,010 units sold. That represents a 16.1 percent increase over last June.

Sales of the Altima, which is made in Canton, were up 23 percent to 26,902 units, also a June record.

For the first half of 2013, Toyota sold 1,108,791 units on one less selling day than the first half of 2012. That represents a 6.7 percent increase on a daily selling rate basis. Unadjusted, sales were up 6 percent year over year.

“The auto industry led the economic recovery through the first half of 2013, kicking off a strong summer selling season, which we expect will carry into the second half of the year,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. “Sales in June were solid, and demand didn’t skip a beat.  Customers are already showing an interest in the all-new Corolla, our hybrid lineup had its best-ever June and Camry topped 35,000 units.”

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Nissan sets May sales record, Toyota’s jump slightly

June 3rd, 2013 No comments

Nissan North America set a sales record in May, with 114,457 deliveries.

That’s a 24.7 percent increase over May 2012. The global Nissan division also set a record, with 106,558 deliveries, up 31.2 percent over last year.

In North America, sales of the Altima, Pathfinder, Sentra and Rogue led the charge. The Altima and Sentra are made in Nissan’s Canton facility, which marked 10 years of production last month.

Altima sales totaled 31,940 for the month, a 40.8 percent jump from May 2012. Sentra sales (12,504 units) were up 64.5 percent.

“We are in the midst of launching five all-new, top-selling Nissan models in 15 months, and the effort is paying off,” Jose Munoz, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan Americas, said in a company press release. “Altima, Pathfinder and Sentra, the first three of these launches, are up a combined 64.6 percent in May, which shows that our new products are hitting the sweet spot of delivering the innovation, style and value that buyers want.”

The Canton facility, using $100 million in bonds issued by the Madison County Economic Development Authority, is expanding its supplier park. Leases of the new buildings would pay the debt service. Lawmakers approved the bond package last legislative session.

Also on Monday, Toyota announced that its May sales were up 2.5 percent, with deliveries totaling 207,952.

“New vehicle sales are heating up along with the weather, and solid May results coupled with an excellent Memorial Day weekend provide great momentum as we move into the summer selling season,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division.

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Pickering: Nissan has met obligations to state

May 28th, 2013 No comments

State auditor Stacey Pickering disputed Tuesday a union-funded study that said Nissan had not met its obligations to Mississippi.

Washington, D.C.-based Good Jobs First recently released the results of a study, paid for by the United Auto Workers, that said Nissan had violated the terms attached to its state incentives by denying workers the right to decide to unionize and by hiring large numbers of temporary workers. The study also claimed that Nissan’s incentives surpassed $1.3 billion, more than three times the reported figure when the plant opened in2003. Nissan and the Mississippi Development Authority disputed the study’s findings.

Pickering, in a column published Sunday in the Clarion-Ledger, said the state auditor’s office has verified Nissan’s job-count figures since the Canton plant opened, and found that they met and in most cases exceeded the threshold attached to the incentives.

“According to the law and the Memorandum of Understandings between Nissan and the state of Mississippi, Nissan was required to maintain 3,000 new direct jobs at the project site until 2021,” Pickering wrote. “As of our last audit in December, 2011, Nissan employed over 4,100 employees, far exceeding the mandated requirements.”

Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan, a group of clergy and elected officials, has led the efforts to unionize Canton workers. The organization claims Nissan has threatened to fire workers for doing so, which would violate federal labor laws. Nissan has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The Nissan facility was created under the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act, the statute that allows oversight from the state auditor’s office. Pickering unsuccessfully pushed for legislation the last session that would have extended auditor oversight to all state-assisted economic development initiatives.

The legislation failed. Pickering told the Mississippi Business Journal in April he plans to push the legislation again in 2014.

Nissan’s Canton chief taking new position, will leave Mississippi

May 3rd, 2013 No comments

The head of Nissan’s Canton facility is taking a new position within the company.

Dan Bednarzyk will be the vice president of what Nissan is calling Total Delivered Cost, effective May 13. It’s a newly created position.

Bednarzyk’s new role will be to oversee Nissan’s cost efficiency operations in North and South America. His job description will center on lowering overall manufacturing costs.

Bednarzyk has been in Canton since the facility started production in 2003. He’s been with Nissan since 1985. His new office will be in Franklin, Tenn, Nissan’s North American headquarters.

“Dan’s extensive experience in manufacturing and his successful leadership of the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant will help him drive total delivered cost improvements across all our manufacturing operations,” Bill Krueger, senior vice president of manufacturing, purchasing, production engineering and supply chain management, said in a company press release announcing the change.

Bednarzyk’s replacement is David Aldana, who is currently head of Nissan’s manufacturing facility in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Like Bednaryzk, Aldana has been with the company since 1985, when he was named deputy general manager of the Nissan Civac plant in Cuernavaca, Mexiso. He has since held several manufacturing management position in Mexico and the U.S.

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Nissan sales surge in April; Toyota’s dip slightly

May 1st, 2013 No comments

 

Nissan reported Tuesday that its April sales were up 23 percent over last year.

The company, which has a facility in Canton, sold 87,847 units for the month, up from 71,329 in April 2012.

A 24.6 percent sales jump in the Nissan division was spurred by the Altima (built in Canton), Pathfinder, Sentra (also built in Canton) and the Rogue compact SUV. Sales of the Altima in April were up 35 percent. Sentra sales jumped 44.9 percent.

“In the first quarter of 2013, we improved our retail sales by more than 4 percent while reducing deliveries to fleet customers by more than 17 percent,” said Jose Munoz, Nissan Americas senior vice president for sales and marketing. “We continued this trend in April with retail up 29 percent and fleet mix down over four percentage points from one year ago, which proves that our new products such as Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder are taking strong hold in the marketplace. We expect to have gained market share in April due to our strong retail performance, which we have full intention to continue through the summer months given the building momentum that we are seeing with Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder in particular.”

The news wasn’t as good for Toyota, which builds the compact Corolla sedan in Blue Springs.

Overall Toyota Motor Sales dipped 5 percent. The Toyota Division’s sales fell 5.4 percent over April 2012 on one more selling day.

It was the first month in several the automaker did not report monthly sales had risen year-over-year. March sales rose 4.8 percent. February sales were up 8.7 percent; January sales increased 21 percent.

“From an industry standpoint, continued retail sales growth indicates the underlying strength of the market, which is a great sign for the months ahead, especially with new products, low interest rates and plenty of pent up demand,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division.  “Toyota’s two newest models – Avalon and RAV4 – continued to attract customers with double digit gains in April.”

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Exec: Nissan shifting focus to Canton

April 23rd, 2013 No comments

An automotive industry website published Monday highlights of a wide-ranging interview with a Nissan executive, and the Canton plant was a big part of it.

Colin Dodge, Nissan Americas chairman, said the company is preparing to turn Canton into the international export hub for the next-generation Murano, a small SUV that has become one of Nissan’s more popular models.

To do that, Dodge told autonews.com, Nissan has to move past a series of manufacturing issues that plagued it last year.

“We had some confusion in manufacturing that disturbed our plan, and it wasn’t insignificant,” he said. “I won’t say that everything that could go wrong went wrong, but we had challenges.”

Dodge said the troubles left Canton 15 percent short of its production goals. The facility turned out 233,441 vehicles in 2012, according to Nissan figures.

The issues started when Nissan started producing the Altima midsize sedan in two plants; started making the Infiniti JX; a next-generation Pathfinder; electric Leaf and battery modules in Smyrna, Tenn.; and moved production of the Xterra SUV and Frontier pickup to Canton. The company also increased shifts in two U.S facilities and hired more than 4,000 additional workers to fill them.

Dodge admits the ramp-up “overwhelmed” the company. “I never tried to do something as difficult as that before, and I probably never will again.” Dodge said the company has solved the problems.

During the legislative session that just ended, lawmakers approved $100 million in bonds that will be publicly issued but whose note will be paid by Nissan. It’s believed the bonds will be used for an expansion of Nissan Canton’s supplier park.

To read the entire story, click here (premium content).

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No Mississippi-made vehicles included in Toyota, Nissan airbag recall

April 11th, 2013 No comments

Toyota and Nissan were among automotive manufacturers to issue a huge recall of vehicles Thursday for potentially faulty passenger-side airbag systems.

The airbags were made by Takata Corp. in Japan. The carmakers said the systems were assembled with improperly manufactured wafers that could cause the airbags to deploy abnormally in the event of a crash. As many as 3 million vehicles in North America and Japan could fall under the recall.

The Toyota vehicles recalled include the Corolla, but only models made from 2001-2003, well before the company’s plant in Blue Springs started producing the compact sedan in November 2011.

The Nissan recalls include vehicles made from 2001-2003 in Japan, a spokesperson said in an email Thursday morning to the Mississippi Business Journal. Canton’s Nissan facility opened in May 2003.

The recall also affected Honda vehicles. The manufacturers will notify owners within 30 days if their vehicle qualifies for a front passenger airbag inflator replacement. Replacement will be free.

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer safety, service and satisfaction and is working with its dealers to promptly address this issue,” the company said in a press release.

Toyota-related information can be found at www.toyota.com/recall and www.lexus.com/recall or by calling 1 800-331-4331 (Toyota) and 1 800-255-3987 (Lexus).

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