Nissan Gears Up for U.S. LEAF Production by Doubling Workforce at Smyrna Plant

Total employment at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee facility will soon push 6,000 workers—nearly double its current workforce—by early next 2013 as the Japanese automaker adds capacity to build two utility vehicles there, and gears up for production of battery packs and eventually the Nissan Leaf electric hatchback.

Nissan will add 1,000 jobs in Smyrna over the next year to staff a second shift on the factory’s truck line to assemble the Infiniti JX and the redesigned Nissan Pathfinder. But more importantly, Nissan will soon employ some 1,300 workers to produce a US-built Nissan LEAF and lithium ion battery packs. LEAF production in Tennessee is set to commence in late 2012, with the first US-built units set to hit dealer lots in early 2013.

According to Nissan, construction of the 1.3-million square-foot lithium ion battery facility, which is located adjacent to the automaker’s vehicle assembly site, is on-schedule and nearing completion. The carmaker has sunk a total of $1.7 billion on the upgrades, which will allow it to produce as many as 150,000 LEAFs and 200,000 total battery packs in the United States annually—giving the LEAF market and employment at the facility plenty of room to grow in the coming years.

Nissan says that the supply flexibility and shipping cost savings—combined with a $1.4 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan—made bringing production of North American LEAFs to United States a smart choice for the company.

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  • JJJSpawn

    Is this considered an american success story?? It is bringing jobs to the US.

  • Van

    Real jobs are not funded with tax dollars. All these green jobs are not adding to the economy because the dollars come from taxes, so a redistribution of wealth program, not an economic growth program.

    And as far as I know, we still do not know if the batteries to be produced in 2013 will be generation one Leaf batteries, or generation 2 leaf batteries with a range of 186 miles.

    Far too many “green jobs” end when the government funding ends. The trick would be to establish a green venture that once started, would continue to grow without tax dollars.

  • 54mpg

    @@Van – “Real jobs are not funded with tax dollars.”

    The Internet was very much “funded with tax dollars” for the first 20 years or so.

    As with Internet, the government funding of green tech will not be needed after a few years.


    US gov should probably rise the gas price to get money to fund the green tech.

    Customers would also be tempted to choose an electric car due to the high price of gas.

    This way, the green industry will probably grow faster.

  • Perry

    Way to go Nissan, no matter what uneducated people have to say. it’s easy to criticize. It sure is a great thing.

    Oil price was taking jobs away where Bush absolutely nothing & the rich got richer. I am a VERY happy LEAFER. There are tens of thousands like me. Once the price starts coming down, the % of EV can only go up. It’s never easy to silence the critics.

    Oil company has been funded by $4billion every year. What about that?

    Thanks for the EV option. Now, the future looks brighter for everyone, not just USA.

  • Mark Thomason

    That’s great news…I’m so glad that Nissan is sticking with their aggressive plans for EV growth…that takes balls to stick your neck out that far in a crappy economy…especially when you have so many naysayers.

    Like Perry, I’m also a very happy Leaf owner and the car has exceeded my expectations. You can read what I thought of it on my blog (

    As for the naysayers who don’t believe the government can make real jobs, I would direct your attention to all of the real jobs that the US Defense department funds each year…the kind of jobs Republicans love to defend even though that department has the LARGEST share of the annual budget and has more than doubled in the last 10 years. As someone who spent time in the Persian Gulf defending tankers, I’m for reducing our dependence on the oil we have to bomb other countries for. Lets obsolete this problem already.

  • Fred Bellows

    Way to go Nissan! It’s a shame the U.S. didn’t have the balls to step up and be the leader in electric cars. Or solar panels. Or wind mills. Or anything green. But I guess it’s hard when our leaders like Reagan make iconic statements by removing the solar panels that Carter put on the white House. Oh well. We’ll get it, eventually. I hope. Ford is getting serious about trying out some electrics soon. Electrics will save the planet. And maybe even our species. And they will start to sell like crazy when people see how cheap they are compared to gas cars. They already pay you back for their purchase price in just five years:

  • Phil

    The same subsidy argument could be said for Big Oil…

  • greg45

    I think this is definitely a must to increase the work force here. These cars will be selling a lot in the future. The quality is there so many will be buying it. Keep up the good work. Physiotherapy & Back Pain

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  • Van

    @54MPG, yes Government spending on cutting edge technology has resulted in technological change. Project Apollo in the 1960’s certainly advanced computers.

    And yes the concept of inter-connecting computers did start in the early 1960″s, government labs, Universities and the like. But as the concept evolved, many individuals contributed key aspects, personal computers, routers, Ethernet, and so forth until we arrive at Microsoft and our internet explorer.

    Non fossil fuel energy jobs may well pay off once fossil fuel becomes unavailable, but for now the market has chosen the lower cost and abundant option.

    Newspapers are going the way of ice plants, being replaced by internet news service, so technological displacement continues to choose the obsolete for extinction. Hopefully Socialism and crony capitalism will end up in the dust bin of history.

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