Nissan’s Smyrna, Tenn. plant has been making pickups for the U.S. market for nearly three decades, with the first truck rolling off the line in 1983. But Smyrna said goodbye to the ‘last Frontier’ (cue groans) last week. Production of the midsize pickup, along with the Xterra body-on-frame SUV is moving to Nissan’s Canton, Miss. plant. Following this transition, Smyrna will become an all-unibody plant, being the source of the new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, Infiniti JX crossover, Altima, Maxima, Leaf electric and Rogue compact SUV.
This will make Canton the company’s truck specialty facility, now producing the Nissan Titan fullsize truck and Armada SUV, the NV fullsize vans, and now the Frontier and Xterra. Although the Canton facility has a theoretical production capacity of 450,000 units a year, just 100,000 less than Smyrna’s massive 550,000 unit capacity, the model line rationalization will give most of the high-volume models to Smyrna. However, Canton will be producing the 2013 Nissan Sentra, giving it a unibody car platform in addition to the truck and SUV models. Canton also produces the Altima to supplement output from Smyrna.
Through July of 2012, Smyrna has produced 183,703 Altimas, 85,031 Rogues, 35,222 Maximas and 9724 Infiniti JX crossovers. Through July, Smyrna also produced 34,996 Frontiers, promising a substantial output boost from the Canton plant following the transition.