Nissan looking to build new North American plant by 2017

Nissan CEO Carlo Ghosn said the automaker will likely build a new NA plant within the next five years.

Looking to limit its exposure to the profit-shrinking effects of the yen and support its quest for significant sales growth, Nissan is strongly considering adding a new factory in North America by 2017.

Nissan is expecting to capture a 10 percent market share in the United States before 2017, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said in an interview with Automotive News. After the automaker achieves that goal, Ghosn said it will likely expand its North American capacity with a new plant that will build Nissan and possibly also Infiniti models.

Currently, all Infiniti models except for the JX35 crossover are built in Japan, where the strength of the yen eats into the profitability of export models. However, Ghosn believes that the brand doesn't necessary need a factory of its own - a new line at an existing plant could also be an effective solution to the currency problem.

In the five years before the new plant becomes a reality, Nissan will look to a seperate new Mexican plant to boost its North American capacity. The automaker is also building a new factory in Brazil that will come online in 2014 and allow it to free up additional capacity in Mexico to devote to U.S.-bound vehicles.

Nissan's 10 percent U.S. market share target represents a significant increase from its current 7.9 percent share, which is actually down from 8.1 percent in last October - a drop that Ghosn blames in part on a lack of local production capacity.

Photo by Drew Johnson.

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