Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Part shortage could idle Nissan plant in Smyrna

Nissan Motor Co. said shortage of an electronic component that is installed during the assembly of most of its vehicles could temporarily shut down production at its North American plants, including those in Smyrna and Canton, Miss., as well as one in Mexico.
The engine-control module manufactured for Nissan by Japan's Hitachi Ltd. has prompted Nissan to schedule a pause in production at its plants in Japan for three days this week.

A company official in Japan said the first plants in North America that might be affected would be the Smyrna plant, which assembles the popular Altima mid-size sedan and other vehicles, and the Mexico plant, which makes the compact Sentra sedan.

But no decision has been made on whether to stop production here, said Steve Parrett, a manufacturing spokesman for Franklin-based Nissan North America, Inc.

"Our plants in North America are currently running as scheduled, and we don't anticipate a major impact on production at this time," Parrett said. "However, we are analyzing the details of the situation, as well as the need for any possible counter measures, and will react appropriately."

Hitachi had told Nissan that it could not supply a sufficient number of the modules to sustain production schedules because of a supplier problem of its own.

Nissan said the module, basically a computer chip that controls various functions of the vehicles' engines, is used in the majority of vehicles it assembles in North America.

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