Nissan to add shift, 800 jobs at Tenn. plant

Associated Press Modified: October 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm •  Published: October 19, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. announced Friday it will add a third shift at a vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee, adding more than 800 jobs.

Gov. Bill Haslam made the jobs announcement at an economic development conference. Haslam said it's the first time the plant will operate on three shifts.

"Nissan and Tennessee have enjoyed a long and successful partnership, and this announcement shows the strength of the company and the market demand for its products," Haslam said in a statement.

The staffing for the expanded work hours bring the total new Nissan jobs in the state to more than 2,000 since the middle of last year. About 5,600 people currently work at the Smyrna plant that first began production in 1983.

The Smyrna plant makes Nissan's most popular car, the midsize Altima sedan, among other models. Production of the all-electric Leaf is set to begin at the plant in December, while assembly of the Rogue is set to come to Smyrna next year. That will mark the first time the small SUV is made in the United States.

Nissan Americas Vice Chairman Bill Krueger said the new shift will begin work on Sunday, building the Altima, Pathfinder, Maxima and Infiniti JX.

"The third shift plays an important role in Nissan's plan to make cars where we sell them," he said. "By 2015, 85 percent of Nissan vehicles sold in the U.S. will be built here in North America."

Nissan's American headquarters are located in Franklin, just outside Nashville. The company also recently announced an expansion of its engine plant in Decherd, Tenn., that also makes motors for the Altima. Nissan also has a U.S. plant in Canton, Miss.

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