We love seeing things built here in the United States so we were sure to book a spot on the Nissan Factory tour while visiting Nashville, TN. This plant has the highest productivity of any car factory in all of North America. They build6 different models at this location and can switch between models based on demand. We were not allowed to bring cellphones or cameras on the tour so we have no photographic evidence of all the cool things we saw on our tour, but believe us it was remarkable. Some of our favorite facts we learned during our visit:
- Every minute (M-F) two cars come off the line as finished products
- They have 8,000 Nissan Employees as well as an additional 2,000staff/suppliers and an entire repair company responsible to keeping the place running at its peak
- There is a full security team, fire department, two cafeterias, a gym, a fully functioning clinic and even a driving range.
- This place is HUGE (see the Google Earth image J found) to put in perspective the sheer size of the building it is 6 million square feet – the equivalent of 114 football fields all connected under one roof that measures137 acres!
- In addition to the 8,000 Nissan employees they have 1,000 robots responsible for a variety of tasks from welding to using massive dies to press solid pieces of metal into frame parts.
- Due to the large productivity it takes less than 24 hours to go from sheets of metal and plastic parts in boxes to a fully assembled car!
- They have what they call a “war room” where they bring in cars from other Nissan factories to compare and contrast the build – this gives them the chance to change their processes/materials used to remain cost effective.
- The entire plant (minus one storage facility in the heart of the building) is a US foreign-trade zone. This means they receive the same customs treatment they would if they were outside of the US, meaning the cars they manufacture (and parts they use to do so) can be held in this zone without being subject to tariffs. The use of Foreign Trade zones is designed to give companies a tariff and tax relief to help lower the cost of production while also creating an environment where companies can create and retain employment opportunities. There are over 230 foreign-trade zones across in the US!
- The town of Smyrna originally had 8,000 residents, now with Nissan and the various businesses which have grown in the area the town has a population of 48,000.
For a free tour, it simply can’t be beat. We look forward to visiting other factories across the country and learning more about the products made here in America.