Nissan Cars Becoming More American

Governor Bill Haslam celebrated in Smyrna the creation of the new Nissan Altima

Nissan North America’s cars are becoming less Japanese. The redesigned Altima that’s now rolling off the line in Smyrna is estimated to be 98 percent “American.”

“American” is used loosely to mean parts are at least coming from North America, including Mexico and Canada.

While the company may attract praise from economic development officials for turning to domestic suppliers, Nissan Americas vice chairman Bill Krueger says the issue is exchange rates. It’s more expensive to buy parts made in Japan.

“As strong as the yen has been, it just doesn’t make sense for the new products that we’re sourcing, producing and selling in the Americas marketplace to have a lot of yen content.”

Krueger says last year’s tsunami in Japan accelerated the transition to suppliers located nearby.

When Nissan’s electric vehicle begins production in Tennessee, Krueger says only the specialized components will be shipped in from Japan, where the Leaf is already being built.

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