To ensure a flawless launch of the new Nissan Murano, the carmaker has implemented a number of quality programs at its Canton site in Mississippi. Nissan has determined that shifting the Murano global export base from Japan to Canton requires more than retooling the site’s assembly line if it wants the crossover to have a flawless rollout.
In fact, the Japanese carmaker invested $100 million to setup a supplier park nearby that would locate 12 to 14 critical Murano suppliers close to the assembly line. The carmaker also set up a series of off-line loops through the site to allow the Murano to be pulled out of the normal production flow when additional workmanship is needed.
John Martin, senior vice president for Nissan North America's manufacturing and supply chain operations, called the Murano as their “image car,” so they want to ensure that its launch was flawless. In the next few months, the Canton site will start shipping Nissan’s image car to 118 export markets.
Martin is even considering how the Murano would pass on markets like Japan and Australia. In fact, he recently that he is awaiting final approval from company inspectors in Japan to make sure the Murano “passes muster there."
He noted that consumers in Australia, which is now dependent on imports, are “very choosy about what they get." Nissan will start selling the Murano next month in the United States, where dealers are already racing to get enough stocks of the redesigned crossover.
Martin said the Murano, a near-luxury crossover, will try to tempt customers from their “BMWs and Lexuses,” with its features like swervy new body design, a leather-stitched steering wheel, an oversized moonroof and ergonomic rear seats.
Nissan shifted Martin and his team of manufacturing and quality executives from its operations in Europe, where he was able to implement a number of letter-perfect new-model launches there.