Who’s the #1 Automaker In America? Would You Guess Nissan?
When you drive that 2016 Nissan Rogue crossover or Altima sedan, you are driving a car made by the #1 automaker in America. Most people would never imagine that Nissan is the largest car manufacturer in North America. Nissan’s North American headquarters are located in Tennessee and it’s been their home for 30 years.
Nissan builds six of their top models here in the U.S. They are the all-electric Leaf, full-size Maxima sedan, Altima sedan, Rogue crossover, Pathfinder SUV, and Infiniti QX60. The Smyrna plant in Tennessee produces 650,000 vehicles per year making them the #1 automaker in North America.
How does Nissan do it?
The Smyrna plant is huge with six million square feet under roof, big enough to house 113 football fields. Around 8,000 employees can pump out a new Nissan vehicle every 30 seconds. Shawn Williams, Plant Manager of Car Production told Local 8 News in Knoxville, "We run around the clock. Basically a 24 hour operation. We start on Sunday night and finish up on Saturday morning.”
Two things make Nissan unique
Nissan does things a bit differently than other automakers. They ask their employees to let them know if they see something that needs improvement. The Japanese have a term called Kaizen, which means “change for better.” If an employee thinks of a better, safer, more efficient way to do something, Williams said they are encouraged to let management know. Nissan's employees are constantly looking for ways to make things better.
Nissan uses an assembly line system where they can roll out multiple models on the same line. The Japanese automaker has designed a system where they can build any of its cars all on the same assembly line, one right behind the other. Williams says, "We're building an electric vehicle here, right on the same line, directly behind a vehicle that's an internal combustion engine vehicle. The technicians who are building one product immediately switch and build the next product, one behind the other. And you don't see that kind of complexity in a lot of facilities.” This allows Nissan to keep the assembly line pumping out all these vehicles without any down time.
When you drive that new 2016 Nissan electric Leaf, Maxima sedan, Altima sedan, Rogue crossover, Pathfinder SUV, or Infiniti QX60, you are helping to put Americans to work and driving a car from the #1 automaker in America. Who would have thunk it?
Source: Local 8 News
Image source: Nissan