Nissan Dials Back Mexican Production Because of Slowing U.S. Sales
By Brendan Moore
The Nissan factory in Aquascalientes makes the Versa (called the Tiida in Mexico) and Sentra small cars, most of which are exported to the United States. The plant also makes the Nissan Platinas for Mexican consumers and the Renault Clio for South American customers. Production stopped on March 18 and is scheduled to start again in on Monday, March 31. The production site usually averages around 26,000 cars per month in output.
Nissan, Japan’s No. 3 automaker, and 44% owned by Renault, is anticipating lower production in Mexico this year as reduced demand in the U.S. market ripples out across their production facilities. Sales of the Sentra fell 11% in the U.S. in the first two months of 2008. Auto industry analysts believe that sales in the U.S. will be substantially lower this year than previous years, with estimates of annual sales anywhere from 14.5 million units to 15.5 million by the time 2008 is over. There are a very small number of projections that come in even lower; citing the possibility of a deep recession in the U.S. economy, but the consensus is for a sales number somewhere in the 15 million range.
Nissan assembled 498,288 vehicles in Mexico in calendar year 2007, according to figures from the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA). The majority, about 350,000 of the total, were produced in the Aguascalientes facility, which is 310 miles from Mexico City. The rest of the production total came from Nissan’s other production site in Cuernavaca, which produces mostly light trucks for the Caribbean and Latin American markets.
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