The partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler reached a milestone Thursday when Tennessee officials joined Nissan leadership to break ground on a new manufacturing facility in Decherd, Tenn.
The new facility – located at the existing Nissan powertrain assembly complex – will produce Mercedes-Benz 4-cyl. gasoline engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz models.
Senior VP Research & Development, Nissan Americas Carla Bailo and VP Production Engineering and Component Facilities Mark Swenson joined local officials to mark the start of construction on this project.
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“Today, we begin an exciting new chapter for the Renault-Nissan Alliance and our continued investment in the United States,” Swenson said. “Today’s groundbreaking marks the latest move in our collaboration with Daimler to localize production capacity and enhance our competitiveness in the global market.”
Production of the new engines will begin in 2014 with installed capacity of 250,000 units per year. At maximum capacity, the new facility is expected to create up to 400 jobs and will be the first location Mercedes-Benz manufactures engines in the North America Free Trade region.
The Tennessee plant’s strategic location will ensure a direct supply of engines for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, to be built at Daimler’s vehicle plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (as of 2014).
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Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance first announced their strategic collaboration in April 2010 and are extending their reach into the United States as part of both companies’ growth strategy.
The companies are also moving forward with a vehicle platform sharing initiative between Infiniti and Mercedes, and development of zero-emission vehicles. The decision to begin jointly producing engines in the U.S. marks the two organizations’ collaborative effort’s largest venture outside of Europe.
Nissan began powertrain assembly in Decherd in 1997. Today, it manufactures 4-,6- and 8-cylinder engines for the complete lineup of U.S.-produced Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. The plant also houses crankshaft forging and cylinder block casting operations. In 2011, Decherd produced more than 580,000 engines on a covered area of more than 1.2 million square feet, according to Nissan.