Nissan Smyrna Plant Marks 40th Birthday, Canton Assembly Plant Gears Up for EV Production

Nissan, one of the pioneers of the modern electric vehicle, started making automobiles in the United States in 1983. The Japanese automaker's first vehicle produced in the United States, a white 720 pickup, couldn't be more different from the Smyrna's plant current crop of trucks, crossovers, and cars.
Nissan Smyrna's first truck and Canton's 2025 EVs 11 photos
Photo: Nissan / edited
Nissan Smyrna's first truckNissan Smyrna's first truckNissan Smyrna Assembly PlantNissan Smyrna Assembly PlantNissan Smyrna Assembly PlantNissan Smyrna Assembly Plant2025 Nissan electric sedan for Canton Assembly Plant2025 Nissan electric sedan for Canton Assembly Plant2025 Infiniti electric sedan for Canton Assembly Plant2025 Infiniti electric sedan for Canton Assembly Plant
In the past 40 years, the company's production footprint in the United States expanded twice. First in 1997 with the opening of the Decherd powertrain assembly plant in Tennessee, then in 2003 with Mississippi's Canton vehicle assembly plant.

Smyrna currently flaunts a workforce that exceeds 7,000 souls, and a production capacity of 640,000 vehicles annually. Said vehicles include the Leaf hatchback, Maxima sedan, Rogue utility vehicle, Murano, Pathfinder, and the Infiniti QX60.

Going forward, the plant will be retooled and expanded for EV production. There's nothing official to announce just yet, but we do know that Canton is gearing up for two all-new electric vehicles from the Nissan and Infiniti marques. Both will begin series production in 2025 for either MY24 or MY26.

$500 million will be invested in Canton to make the switch to EVs, with Nissan targeting 40 percent of US sales to be fully electric by 2030. That's a pretty tall order for the automaker which sells only two electric vehicles in this part of the world as of May 2023.

The yet-unnamed Nissan and Infiniti electric vehicles due in 2025 are part of the Ambition 2030 electrification strategy, which comprises 19 all-new electric vehicles by fiscal year 2030. In total, 27 electrified vehicles are in the pipeline.

Somewhat weird, the 2025 electric vehicles that will be produced in Canton will be sedans rather than crossovers. Nissan didn't confirm this design in writing, but the automaker's rather lengthy press conference features a sequence in which both EVs are unmistakably sedans from the side view.

Four-door sedans or five-door liftbacks, it remains to be seen. Another curious development is the imminent discontinuation of the Maxima, with Nissan believed to use this very nameplate for the upcoming electric sedan. The Q50 is on its way out as well, with Infiniti believed to revive this moniker for its future electric sedan. The zero-emission vehicle may be called Skyline in the Japanese market, which sounds plausible given that the Q50 is already called Skyline in the JDM.

The big question is, what platform are said vehicles based on? A little over a year ago, back in March 2022, the peeps at Nissan Europe detailed the CMF-EV platform. It's going to serve as the basis for no fewer than 15 electric vehicles due by 2030. The CMF-EV already underpins the Nissan Ariya and Renault Megane E-Tech Electric, and due to its modularity, it also supports D-segment vehicles.

The Q50 is a D-segment sedan, whereas the Maxima is based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance's D platform. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

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Editor's note: Canton's 2025 electric sedans are teasted at the 24:40 mark.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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