Nissan CEO shifts Murano production from Japan to Canton, Mississippi

Article by Anita Panait, on January 11, 2013

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.

Considered as Nissan’s crafted premium crossover, the Murano remains to have a style that is truly unique for its class, be it on the exterior or the interior. It will be available in both the Intuitive All-Wheel Drive system and the front-wheel drive. Powering it will be the DOHC 3.5-liter VQ engine as standard. Output has been rated at 260 hp with peak torque of 240 lb.-ft.

The engine is then paired to the cutting-edge Xtronic CVT resulting in a driving experience that is smooth and at the same time athletic. For the 2013 Murano, Nissan made sure to have the innovative Safety Shield technologies though this is offered with the SL Navigation Package and the LE Platinum Edition. Safety systems include the Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and the Moving Object Detection (MOD). The brand will be making available an SV Value Package which will have a power liftgate and even has the Bose audio system having the dual subwoofer and 9 speakers.

SV models will also have the Nissan Navigation System. Under the SL models and the SV Value Package, the aluminum-alloy 18-inch wheels will have that Titanium finish. Further, SV models will also have the HomeLink Universal Transceiver plus the auto-dimming rearview mirror. Nissan revealed as well that it will be adding in two colors for the exterior which are Gun Metallic and Midnight Garnet.

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