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New Nissan Plant Starts Production in Mexico

Karla Salinas | 15.11.2013

Nissan Motor has started production at its third vehicle manufacturing plant in Mexico, raising annual output capacity in the country to over 850,000, up 25%.

Nissan Motor has started production at its third vehicle manufacturing plant in Mexico, raising annual output capacity in the country to over 850,000, up 25%.

The US$2bn complex in Aguascalientes, central Mexico, is capable of assembling 175,000 cars annually. It will initially produce Sentra compact sedans which will be shipped to over 20 markets globally.

Nissan Mexico was the first subsidiary to manufacture cars outside Japan though cars had been assembled from kits in various markets before that, usually by independent contractors/importers.

Nissan expects its Mexican subsidiary to play a key role in the company's plan to achieve an 8% global market share by 2016.

The new plant "is aimed at satisfying the high demand for Nissan vehicles produced in Mexico throughout the Americas and beyond," chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn said at the opening ceremony.

The automaker's capacity throughout the Americas will reach 2m units annually once another plant in Brazil starts operation in the first half of 2014.

Nissan said the 19 months from ground breaking to production start was "an all-time industry record". Full capacity will see the plant - official name Aguascalientes 2 - operate for 23 hours a day, six days a week, for 284 days a year. It's starting at 30 cars an hour compared with 65 vehicles output per hour of Aguascalientes 1, four miles away.

The five main buildings total 1,942,491 sq m of construction on a 1,130 acre (460 hectare) lot: stamping, body, paint, T&C (assembly line) and injection & bumpers paint in a 220,000 sq m production centre.

The XL press in the stamping plant is the largest in Latin America. It has capacity of 575 strokes per hour and can produce more than 273,000 parts per month. The plant includes an energy regeneration system to reduce consumption.

The body shop has 190 robots and is 72% automated. The paint plant has a compact line process design, with a three wet paint cabin using water-based technology.

Seven percent of ceiling parts are translucent, allowing for natural light throughout most of the day. A zero-discharge, water treatment recycles water used for internal and landscaping services. A portion of the land was prepared as an environmental reserve, including fertile soil moved during the development process and native plant species. The reserve is being designed for the leisure use of employees and the community.

Nissan claims to have created more than 3,000 new jobs in Aguascalientes and over 9,000 indirect jobs.

Honda Motor and Mazda Motor both have new plants under construction in Mexico and scheduled to start output next spring and in the first quarter of 2014, respectively.

Mazda's will also produce cars on an OEM basis for Toyota.

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