According to Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, which just inaugurated the newest Nissan factory, located in Mexico, the Latin American country’s position as the export hub for the Japanese automaker in the Americas will be cemented by the 1 million cars slotted to be built here by 2016.
Most of the cars from the new plant in Aguascalientes in central Mexico will be sent by rail to destinations throughout North and South America. A staff of 3,000 in the light, airy plant filled with rows of shiny yellow robots will produce one car every 38 seconds, in partnership with Nissan’s other Aguascalientes plant.
“We like Mexico because it allows us to be competitive,” Ghosn said in an interview at the plant on Tuesday. “It’s not only about cost, it’s also about quality and it’s about responsiveness – capacity to respond to variation of the market very quickly. Mexico is becoming the export hub for the Americas – not only North America but also South America.”
The new factory, which was built in a record 19 months, is critical to helping Nissan meet growing demand for compact cars such as the Nissan Sentra throughout the Americas. Nissan will build 175,000 Sentras at the new plant, which can be expanded.
“It’s capable of doing four different cars on four different platforms,” Ghosn said of the plant, which will assemble cars with engines built at Nissan’s first Aguascalientes plant 5 miles down the road.
Last year, Nissan built around 5 million cars and trucks, with 683,520 vehicles made in Mexico. Nissan currently builds 1 million cars and trucks at its factories in the United States. The new plant is Nissan’s third in Mexico as the company is Mexico’s largest producer and commands about one-quarter of all car sales in the country.