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Just thought you might want to know...............





Lisa Nipp / The Tennessean

Mark Swenson, department manager of body engineering, checks out new Nissan Altimas before they roll off the assembly line at the company's plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The new Nissan plant near Canton also will make the Altima model.


Nissan will begin building its award-winning Altima sedan in Mississippi in 2004, a year after it begins building trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles in its plant under construction in Madison County.

The $500 million expansion of the Canton Nissan plant will mean 1,300 new jobs on top of the 4,000 the company had already committed to bring to Mississippi, said Emil Hassan, Nissan's senior vice president for North American manufacturing, purchasing, quality and logistics.

Hundreds of more jobs could come from the companies that will supply Altima parts to the plant.

"We are working overtime to build the Altima in Tennessee, and we are still not meeting consumer demand," Hassan said of the company's planned expansion for its Canton plant.

The 225,000 Altima sedans that Nissan will produce this year are being built at its Smyrna, Tenn., plant. Hassan said Nissan will shift 150,000 of those Altimas to Canton, giving the company the ability to add new vehicle lines to Smyrna in 2004.

Altima sales have been high since Nissan re-designed the vehicle last year.

In January, the vehicle won car of the year honors at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove praised the expansion Monday, saying, "Nissan will be building its recognized best in Mississippi."

On Friday, the Mississippi Legislature approved a $68 million incentive package to encourage the expansion. The money will pay for worker training, infrastructure improvements to the site and provide water for the facility.

That money comes on top of $295 million in incentives approved in 2000 for the first phase of the Nissan plant.

The expansion will not require any additional land. Hassan said the company's plant design anticipated eventual expansions and left room available for them.

The addition of the Altima will require Nissan to add another 1 million square feet of floor space to the plant, bringing the total space to 4 million square feet.

In addition, the company will build a second paint plant
 
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