Betcha didn’t know half of this. Lots of us now associate Nissan with Tennessee, it having moved its North America headquarters from southern California (just up Vermont Avenue in Gardena from the fabled speedway, Ascot Park) to Franklin, outside Nashville. That reinforced the Volunteer connection that had dated back to 1983, when Nissan opened its U.S. assembly plant in Smyrna, located in nearby Rutherford County. With an annual production capacity of 640,000 vehicles, Smyrna is the highest-volume auto assembly plant in North America. It has a workforce of more than 7,000. And this week, its workforce hit a milestone by rolling out the plant’s 14 millionth vehicle. This is in a state not known until recently (Volkswagen has more recently set up shop in Chattanooga) as a hub of the auto industry. That makes Nissan’s benchmark glowingly impressive.
The honored vehicle turned out to be a 2021 Nissan Rogue finished in Scarlet Ember Tincoat. Besides the Rogue, Smyrna also builds the Nissan Murano, Pathfinder, Maxima and the Infiniti QX60 premium SUV. Another product from Smyrna is the electric Nissan LEAF, whose onboard batteries are also manufactured on site, as will the EV’s forthcoming second-generation replacement. Nissan trivia: The first vehicle to roll out of Smyrna was a plain white Nissan 720 standard-cab pickup, with the compact Sentra being the first dedicated U.S. vehicle produced there.