To cope with the high value of the Japanese Yen, Nissan may move production of its Murano crossover and Murano CrossCabriolet convertible from Japan to Tennessee. Automotive News reports that when a new version of the Murano is launched in 2014, Nissan could start building American-spec versions of it at the Nissan’s factory in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Nissan builds about 90 percent of all Muranos sold worldwide in Japan, with the remaining ten percent split between plants in Russia and China. The high value of the Japanese Yen, however, means it’s becoming less and less profitable for Nissan to export Japanese-made cars to other countries. That’s especially problematic for selling the Murano in the U.S., as the Dollar-Yen exchange rate eats at the car’s profit margins. The Murano is Nissan’s seventh most-popular model here, selling 35,637 units so far this year, up 4.2 percent from the first eight months of 2011.
Nissan admits to the problem of selling Japanese-built cars outside its homeland, but struggles with an official goal of maintaining domestic production of at one million units annually. Despite the desire to protect its own nation’s workforce, Nissan seems to recognize that it must reconsider shifting production.
“With the Yen stubbornly close to record highs first seen after the 2008 financial crisis, it’s never been tougher for the nation’s auto and electronics manufacturers to produce competitively at home,” the company said in a press release.
The Smyrna, Tennessee factory already builds the Nissan Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Pathfinder, and Rogue, plus the Infiniti JX35. Nissan also has a plant in Canton, Mississippi that assembles the Altima, Armada, Frontier, NV, Sentra, Titan, and Xterra.
Sources: Automotive News, Nissan