Decherd, Tenn. – The partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler reached a milestone last May when Tennessee officials joined Nissan leadership to break ground on a new manufacturing facility in Decherd, Tenn. The new facility will produce Mercedes-Benz 4-cyl. gasoline engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz models.
With a blank slate, engineers were able to incorporate new ideas into this plant.
"We've tried to take energy efficiency into play as much as possible. Starting at the top it's a white roof like we do on most buildings now to get reflectants and not add to the summer heat load," said Facility Engineer Thomas Lawson. He also worked with builders to try something they've never tried before, skylights.
"We've also got sky lights in the building throughout. In daytime hours we think it will be just about self-lit." According to Lawson, the skylights will be paid for in less than three years, thanks to the money saved from not needing lights on in the daytime.
At maximum capacity, Nissan says this new facility will create about 400 new jobs. Workers filling those positions will find a new building designed with teamwork in mind. Lawson commented, "we've created a central core area that both machining and assembly will share. They'll share break and rest areas, work space and managers share offices. So it will create more cooperation, quickly allow problems to be resolved and just provide a better team environment." The building is located at the existing Nissan Powertrain Assembly complex, yet positioned in a way so it can be easily expanded either to the north or to the south in the future.
Production of the new engines will begin in 2014 with installed capacity of 250,000 units per year. This will be the first location Mercedes-Benz manufactures engines in the North America Free Trade region; and, the plant's strategic location will ensure a direct supply of engines for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, to be built at Daimler's vehicle plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (as of 2014).
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