Nissan making its earthquake-damaged Iwaki plant more efficient

Article by Christian A., on March 29, 2012

Nissan Motor Co. continues to repair the damage at its Iwaki plant from the earthquake. Instead of only making this plant more quake-resistant, it’s also going to be more efficient. Major portions of the floor had warped causing some parts to sink by up to 6 inches. This V-6 engine plant will resume normal operations this August.

In fact, Nissan is now in the final phases of repair. The Iwaki plant was the most damaged due to the earthquake among all of Nissan’s plants. A bottleneck in Nissan’s recovery plan resulted as this plant was tasked to make engines for numerous Infiniti vehicles intended for North America. Last Monday, the plant was visited by CEO Carlos Ghosn.

The company reinforced the original foundations while the cylinder-head and crankshaft lines were transferred to different areas of the factory. Ghosn said that the company didn’t just aim for production to resume right away. They also sought to improve the plant’s performance and cost competitiveness.

Ghosn explained that while the factory was being reconstructed, plant managers re-engineered one manufacturing process to reduce costs by over 80%. The strengthened foundations will enable the plant to be unaffected by future earthquakes. The Iwaki factory was made in 1994. It produces the VQ V-6 engine that would be fitted on the Infiniti G and M series, the Nissan Murano crossover and 370Z sports car.

Nissan 370Z has received a series of subtle yet relevant modifications that are designed to emphasize its status as among the market’s most exciting and thrilling pure-bred sports cars, as well as to cement its position as a dynamic leader in its segment.

The most basic changes are those done to the chassis, both for the 370Z’s Coupé and Roadster models, in order to enhance high-speed handling and riding comfort. Also, the 370Z has a new tire pressure monitoring system that further enhances safety. A rear view camera has also been integrated into the car’s satellite navigation system (Nissan Premium Connect), making reversing safer and easier as well.

Other changes include better isolation of road noise for the Coupé version. Meanwhile, both the Coupé’s and the Roadster’s automatic versions now feature a revised 'Snow' setting, which contributes to enhanced grip when you are setting off on snow or on ice.

According to Simon Thomas, Senior VP for Sales & Marketing at Nissan in Europe, these changes are part of Nissan's continual development program that applies to all its products. The most significant of these changes is the fine tuning of their chassis, which has been developed for Europe in Europe.

Thomas adds that Nissan’s Model Year 2011 370Z has taken one of the market’s most popular sports cars and has made it so much more fun to drive.

In Europe, average speeds are higher compared to anywhere else. Europe also has some of the world’s most demanding roads and poorest road surfaces.

Topics: nissan, japan

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