New Infiniti engine site in Decherd starts producing powerplants

Article by Andrew Christian, on July 3, 2014

Infiniti’s new engine manufacturing site in Decherd, Tennessee has commenced producing the carmaker’s first engines outside of Japan. The site is tasked to produce turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engines for the Infiniti Q50 sedan and for the new Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan that Daimler is building in Alabama.

The $319-million engine plant is a product of a 50-50 joint venture between the Renault-Nissan alliance and Daimler. The venture was jointly funded by Nissan and Daimler to be a freestanding Infiniti site building a Daimler-designed engine out of engine blocks, heads and crankshafts that all shipped from Germany.

The engines are then assembled on a Nissan-designed production line that integrates Daimler engineering processes. Engines coming off the production line are then exported to Japan, where they are fitted in the Infiniti Q50 that is exported to Europe.

The investment will enable Infiniti to build six variants of engines -- three for Mercedes and three for Infiniti -- for up to up to 250,000 a year. Infiniti Motor Co. president Johan de Nysschen remarked that Mercedes will receive more Decherd-built engines at first, since the Mercedes C-class have higher volume than the Q50; although the allocation eventually will even out.

De Nysschen quipped that the engine will also be installed in the Infiniti Q50 for the China market. A Q50 powered by a 2-liter Decherd engine will arrive in the United States in MY2016, de Nysschen disclosed.

Reuters, citing sources privy with the plans of Daimler and Nissan, has reported that the carmakers have finalized a joint venture agreement to build future Mercedes and Infiniti compact cars in Mexico.

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