The very first U.S.-built 2014 Nissan Rogue came off the assembly line today as the 10 millionth vehicle built at the Japanese automaker's plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, giving the facility's 7000-plus employees twofold cause for celebration.
Although this is the first 2014 Rogue to be assembled in Smyrna, the plant has an impressive pedigree of successful models such as Pathfinder, Altima, and Sentra, which is over 30 years in the making. In conjunction with other vehicle assembly facilities in Decherd, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi, the success and high level of innovation in Smyrna is part Nissan's overall efforts to localize manufacturing in high-sales markets. Nissan manufactures the nation's largest supply of automotive lithium-ion batteries in Smyrna, a major factor which allowed for a notable price cut on the all-electric 2013 Nissan Leaf.
"For more than 30 years, the Smyrna plant has been building high-quality vehicles, and today's milestone serves as further testament to the flexibility, efficiency and talent of our U.S. workforce," said Susan Brennan, Nissan's vice president of manufacturing in Smyrna, in a prepared statement. The plant has an annual payroll of over $275 million, which amounts to a valuable share of local and state economies in Tennessee.
In order to meet demand for what has become its second-best selling model, Nissan added 900 jobs to its Smyrna vehicle assembly plant this past June, which also marked the 30th anniversary of its U.S.-based production. The 2014 Nissan Rogue, which is set to go on sale this November, has been fully redesigned following a nearly 50 percent demand increase for the model between 2010 and 2012.
The all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue sports a more aggressively-styled exterior, with aerodynamic functionality to match its sharper new skin. Nissan's next generation Xtronic continuously variable transmission is paired with a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. With fuel economy as a clear objective, the 2014 Rogue achieves a 33 mpg highway rating - a considerable 5 mpg boost from the outgoing 2013 model.
With the new Nissan Rogue wrapping up a series of five core-volume launches in only 15 months, Nissan is well on its way to achieving its goal of having 85 percent of its U.S. sales volume manufactured in North America. Competitive innovation in fuel economy and fresh design language should ensure Nissan sees continual growth in U.S. sales, with the Rogue leading the way as its best-selling SUV.