SMYRNA, TN-For the first time since opening in 1983, Nissan’s assembly plant in Tennessee is adding a third shift at its plant here.
With more than 800 jobs to be added by the move, Nissan will make a sizable increase in its North American-built ratio.
The automaker’s plants in Smyrna and Canton, MS, will account by 2015 for 85 percent of vehicles sold in North America, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced on October 19.
The Smyrna plant also stands out in the vehicles built there, including the popular Altima sedan, Pathfinder, Maxima and new Infiniti JX.
The lineup of Smyrna-built cars will add the all-electric Nissan Leaf in December, followed in 2013 by the Rogue SUV.
The Smyrna work force of 5,600 will top out at 6,400 to accommodate the additional vehicles.
Not yet a UAW-organized plant, despite being one of the largest North America plants owned by a foreign-based automaker, Smyrna faces a challenge of initial quality control as it continues to proliferate.
The UAW will rise to the challenge with an intensified organizing drive. It has lost elections at Smyrna before, but may not be able to do so as it steps up production and adds a third shift.