Nissan ignites NA work-truck production

CANTON, Miss. — Next time some guy pastes a "buy-the-truck-your-neighbor-built" bumper sticker to his vehicle, he could be talking about a Nissan.

This week, the Japanese company officially launched production of its much-ballyhooed commercial van; and it’s put together deep in the heart of the deep south — in Canton, Mississippi.

Truth to tell, Nissan’s been assembling cars in Canton since ’03. The Canton plant already churns out Altimas, Titans and Armadas.

But in anticipation of entering the work-truck scene, Nissan has invested $118 million over the last two years to add a 15,000-sq-ft body assembly wing and an assortment of other modifications to prep the place so it can build these light trucks.

"Today’s Job One ceremony not only commemorates a new era for the Canton plant and launch of the innovative Nissan NV commercial van, it also represents growth for Nissan in North America and affirmation of our dedication to building the highest quality products for customers in every major product segment," said Nissan Americas Chairman Carlos Tavares.

The first Nissan NV 2012 models – the NV1500, NV2500 HD and NV3500 HD — are scheduled to drive off the assembly line in Spring, 2011.

The pick-up style, full-length trucks come in standard roof and high roof configurations — the latter giving customers the ability to stand and work in the cargo area – while the broad bodysides project a "serious commercial vehicle appearance," says the company.

Canadians will get their first upclose peek at the new truck in March, in Toronto, at the country’s largest commercial plumbing and heating and refrigeration conference, CIPHEX

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