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News of  April 11, 2001


Nissan Starts Construction Phase of New Assembly Plant; Company Announces $1 Million College Scholarship Fund for State Students 

CANTON, Miss.- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. initiated the construction phase of its new $930 million vehicle assembly plant, which company President Carlos Ghosn called "our first significant step towards building profitable growth under the Nissan Revival Plan."

Nissan also announced the general contractor of the Canton plant: W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, which is based in Philadelphia, Miss. Yates will have total coordination and construction management responsibility for the entire project.  Yates will receive support from partner Walbridge Aldinger, which has extensive experience in automotive industry construction, and TKS Industrial Company, which will design and construct the Paint Plant. Yates Construction has committed to hire a diverse workforce and as many minority subcontractors as possible.

Once completed and running at full capacity, the plant will produce about 250,000 vehicles a year and employ 4,000 people.  The 2.6 million square-foot Canton plant, about 15 miles north of Jackson, Miss., will produce an all-new full-size pickup truck, a full-size sport-utility vehicle and the next generation Nissan minivan.  Production begins in mid-2003.

"Building the right products in the right markets is a basic ingredient to building a foundation for solid, profitable growth," Mr. Ghosn said. In a ceremony featuring traditional Japanese Taiko drum music, Mr. Ghosn also announced the Nissan Mississippi Scholarship Program, which will draw from a $1 million fund to help high school students in the state pay for college education.

"This scholarship program and the new plant are evidence of a new partnership between Nissan and Mississippi," Mr. Ghosn said.

The Nissan Revival Plan (NRP) is a comprehensive program Mr. Ghosn announced Oct. 18, 1999, with a straightforward objective of achieving lasting profitable growth.  Progress under the NRP has been faster and stronger than originally expected.

Mr. Ghosn said today that the Canton plant's products are in line with the company's objective of offering vehicles in all major U.S. automotive market segments. "This investment here in Mississippi allows us to expand our lineup in North America and grow our business by entering in markets where we do not currently compete," he said.  "These products will bring us incremental sales growth."

The three vehicles produced at the Canton plant will come after a plan to introduce 22 all-new vehicles worldwide between April 1, 2000, and March 31, 2003.  Ten of those vehicles are destined for the U.S. market.

Combined with production facilities in Smyrna, Tenn., and Aguascalientes and Cuernavaca, Mexico, Nissan's North American vehicle production capacity will be more than 1 million vehicles per year.

The product blitz is a key to returning Nissan to the lasting, profitable growth objective set in the NRP.  First-year results are encouraging. Financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001, will be announced next month.  Nissan has forecast an operating profit of about $2.03 billion for the year, a 260 percent improvement over $779 million in operating profit during the previous fiscal year.

On a net basis, Nissan has forecast a profit of about $2.3 billion in the just-completed fiscal year, compared with a net loss of $6.4 billion during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000. Combined Nissan and Infiniti U.S. sales in calendar year 2000 were 11.1 percent better than in 1999.

(April 6, 2001)

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