Nissan is adding more than 900 manufacturing jobs at its plant in Smyrna to support future production of the Rogue.
It will bring the number of people working at the facility "to well-over 7,000, which is near a record high," Nissan spokesperson Justin Saia told Nashville's News 2 Thursday.
The additional jobs are coming because it will be the first time the Rogue, a compact crossover SUV, will be produced in the United States.
"Our investment creates hundreds of new jobs and underscores Nissan's longtime commitment to our employees and expanding operations around the country," Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Bill Krueger said in a release.
Few know that better than 30-year employees Wanda Fullerton and Randy Knight who like to say they "have been with the plant before there was a plant."
"A lot of people work here that live in the vicinity, and we offer a lot of jobs that keep people going," said Fullerton who is a senior project manager of new models. "Where I live in my own neighborhood, I have got multiple people who work at Nissan, people who I went to school with."
Her words are echoed by fellow 30-year employee Randy Knight.
"It big volume vehicle, so it's very good for the plant," said Knight, who is one of the plant managers at the Nissan facility.
"Having grown up here, there was not a lot in Smyrna; it was just a place between Murfreesboro and Nashville, but not anymore."
Stepping up production of cars like the Rogue usually means good things for nearby auto suppliers and businesses like the Kangaroo Market.
"Hopefully those people who gain employment over at Nissan will come over and shop with us," half-joked Kangaroo Market regional executive Chris Hughes.
He remembers last fall's expansion at Nissan where 800 workers were added when the automaker went to a third shift for the first time at the Smyrna plant.
Hughes said, "Oh yeah it's been a big help to us since the last expansion in October, it brought a lot of business to the general area here."
Over the last 30 years, Nissan's Smyrna plant has grown significantly and transformed from a domestic manufacturer to a global one.
In just the last year, Smyrna has become home to the country's largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant supporting production of the all-electric, zero-emission 2013 Nissan LEAF, as well as a new paint plant that sets standards for energy efficiency.
"Today's announcement shows the strength of the company and is another milestone in the long success story of Nissan here in Tennessee," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said.
The shift of Rogue production to the U.S. is part of Nissan's broader strategy to localize production. Nissan aims to have 85% of its products that are sold in the United States produced in North America by 2015.
Production of the Rogue will begin this fall keeping the plant at its capacity of 550,000 vehicles yearly.
Or as Fullerton as said over her 30-year career at Nissan, "We make a car a minute."
Those interested in working at the Smyrna plant should visit Nissan.jobs for more information.
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