A Nissan ESFLOW concept car is displayed at Auto China 2012 in Beijing. (Photo : Retuers)
Japanese automaker, Nissan officially began construction on its third manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes, Mexico on Tuesday.
The event was described as the fusion between Japanese and Mexican traditions where, according to an official press release, the first stone ceremony was performed according to the Japanese tradition of the Daruma, a votive figure without arms or legs, with moustache and beard, but with whitened eyes used as reminder and motivation to fulfill goals or ambitious tasks. Tradition states the right eye of the Daruma was darkened to establish the clear goal of finishing this construction in record time. Once construction is complete and the first cars come off the assembly line, the other eye will be painted to represent success of the project.
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The newly inaugurated complex is the third manufacturing complex in the country and the second in the state of Aguascalientes. The complex is backed by a $2 billion investment with an objective of increasing manufacturing capacity needed to satisfy the high demand for Nissan vehicles in the domestic and international markets.
"The magnitude of Nissan's commitment to this new automotive complex is without par," said Armando Avila, Vice President of Manufacturing at Nissan Mexicana in a press release. "With this investment, we will be able to increase our manufacturing capacity from over 600,000 units per year, to more than 800,000 units by the close of 2013, continuing our record setting production rates in New Mexico. And this is only Phase 1. The challenge is enormous, but inspiring. We will achieve it because we are proficient in advanced production processes and can count on very skilled labor to deliver with top quality."
The new manufacturing complex will produce 175,000 compact vehicles per year and to achieve the target. Nissan will create 3,000 direct jobs and generate approximately 9,000 indirect jobs in Aguascalientes. The complex also has a supplier park and a quality proving ground.
According to the press release, phase 1 of construction will be completed in a record time of 20 months and will be operational by the end of 2013. The vehicles produced in Mexico by Nissan will have 80 percent of domestic content including auto parts and hardware accessories.
"What encourages me more is how you are working here with 'Kokoro', or spirit in Japanese," said Hidetoshi Imazu, Executive Vice President of Manufacturing at Nissan Motors a the press release. "I think those who are working here in Aguascalientes have 'Kokoro', in your care for customer needs, 'Kokoro' to improve yourselves to achieve higher levels of skills and technology and skills, and 'Kokoro' to challenge difficult issues head-on. I hope this spirit will be handed down to the new employees being hired for the new plant so that it becomes of the top-performing plants in the Nissan world, like the current Aguascalientes and Cuervanaca plants."
In keeping with Japanese tradition, Nissan Motors placed a time capsule next to the first stone. The capsule included photos of every single employee currently working with Nissan in Aguascalientes as a symbol of their role in the company and its operation's history.
"The new Aguascalientes complex underscores the objectives set for by Nissan's global strategy, Nissan Power 88, including a target global market share of 8 percent," said Bill Krueger, Vice Chairman of Nissan Americas. "The increase of manufacturing capacity for an operation that has already proven its leadership, will enable us to deliver more innovative vehicles for markets that are clamouring for them."