Canton spokesperson says company did not want to rush production
The Nissan plant in Canton will not start producing light commercial vehicles (LCVs) this fall as the company originally planned.
Instead, a Nissan spokesman said last Thursday morning that the first LCV would not come off the line until some time in the first quarter of 2011.
“We’ll start making them in time for the 2012 model year,” said Steve Parrett.
Parrett said Nissan’s decision was based on its engineering division’s reluctance to sign off on the vehicle in time for the fall.
“They asked for more evaluation time in order for the vehicles to have the highest quality assurance possible.”
Even with the delay, Parrett said the Canton plant could have started LCV production in December, which would have allowed Nissan to enter them into the 2011 model year.
“But once we decided to adjust our production schedule, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to make a vehicle with that little time left in the 2011 model year,” Parrett said.
Parrett insisted that Nissan’s decision to delay the production of the LCVs was economic, that the company felt comfortable enough with the demand for the vehicles to only delay their production by a few months.
“This is strictly engineering decision,” he said. “That’s the reason for this.”
Automotive quality assurance was a hot topic back in the spring. Toyota, who had spent three decades developing a reputation as the industry’s quality leader, was being roundly criticized by industry experts and the federal government for a wave of recalls that affected the majority of the company’s vehicles.
“That has nothing to do with our decision at all,” Parrett said.
Two shifts at the Canton plant will be devoted to producing the LCVs, which are popular for their hauling capacity and fuel efficiency. European businesses have historically relied heavily on them. Nissan is the first automotive manufacturer to produce them domestically. Production trials at the Canton plant started in June, Parrett said.
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