Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn has ordered to shift the production of the Murano crossover from Japan to Canton, Miss., as part of a promise to reduce the carmaker’s dependence on Japanese manufacturing and be more competitive in North America. The shift is set to occur during the second half of 2014, when the next-generation Murano is expected to be rolled out.
The Murano will become the eighth model on Canton's plate as well the third nameplate that Ghosn has shifted out of Japan in recent months. Around 90 percent of Muranos are produced at Nissan's Kyushu site in Japan.
Around 70 percent of the plant's production was exported to the United States. Nissan assembles the Murano in China and Russia. Nissan's Smyrna plant in Tennessee has just commenced building the Leaf electric vehicle, which is meant to compete in the US since the carmaker started importing it from Japan in December 2010.
The Smyrna plant will also commence this year producing the Rogue crossover, which is currently imported from Japan. Japanese carmakers have been producing their high-volume US-bound vehicles in North America since the 1980s. But because of the strong yen, Japanese carmakers are considering to further shift production from Japan to the US.
Ghosn has promised to shift output of Infiniti vehicles out of Japan. Although the extent of shift is still unknown, it has already commenced at a limited degree. In 2012, Infiniti started producing the new three-row JX crossover at the Smyrna plant. In December 2012, Nissan disclosed that it will produce a new entry-level Infiniti in the United Kingdom.