Nissan employees and Infiniti executives gathered Monday in Smyrna to watch the first Tennessee-built luxury vehicle roll off the assembly line – and the jobs coming with it.
State Sens. Jim Tracy and Bill Ketron (From left) try out the feel of the new 2013 Infinity JX during an event Feb. 20 at the Nissan plant in Smyrna. TMP/M. Hudgins
In preparation of producing the all-new, seven-passenger 2013 Infiniti JX, the plant has added 1,000 jobs since October, and it is gearing up to add an additional 1,000 jobs in the next 12 to 24 months, said Susan Brennan, vice president of manufacturing for Smyrna.
Positions range from assembly jobs like stamping and parts quality to skilled trades and product engineering positions.
Brennan touted the loyalty and work ethic of Nissan employees. By adding more positions, she said new employees will have the ability to inject money into local businesses and volunteer through any of the company’s community projects.
“They can improve their lifestyle, and they can add back to the community,” Brennan said.
In fact, Yates Services, which hires employees for Nissan, contributed more than $205,000 to the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties and was recognized as having the Most Improved Campaign.
Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess was also on-hand at Monday’s unveiling of the Infinity JX.
“Nissan has been a wonderful business partner for many years,” he said, adding that the company continues to make a tremendous contribution to citizens of Rutherford County and Middle Tennessee.
In preparation of the new product, the Smyrna plant underwent changes and updates necessary to build the Infiniti JX.
“We brought about innovation, new skill and special processes,” Brennan said. “We challenged ourselves, and we challenged each other. This plant is stronger by preparing for the Infiniti brand.”
Nissan celebrated its first Job One in 1983 and followed it with many milestones, including the Infiniti JX.
“We are extremely proud and honored to be building this world-class vehicle right here in Middle Tennessee,” Brennan continued. “We expect the inspired design and quality craftsmanship built into every new Infiniti model that rolls of the Smyrna production lines will deliver inspired performance that is second to none.”
Infiniti JX is assembled in Nissan’s Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant, and its 265-horspower 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engines are assembled in nearby Decherd, Tenn.
“This is more than a car launch; this is a brand launch,” said Mark Swenson, vice president of vehicle production for Nissan Americas. “Infiniti is built in Japan, except for this product …We can compete, and we can win on a global level in one of the toughest markets. Let’s show that this team and this product are second to none.”
The new vehicle starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $40,450 for the JX35 FWD and $41,550 for the JX35 AWD model.
Reservations are being taken now at InfinitiUSA.com.
Nissan does not release the number of vehicles produced, but the Infiniti JX hits nationwide retailers in March.
“The luxury crossover market is the fastest growing luxury segment in America, representing a huge opportunity for Infiniti,” said Ben Poore, president of Infiniti Americas Vice, at the unveiling. “In fact, we expect JX to quickly become our second highest volume model, right behind the popular Infiniti G-line.”
According to a press release, the all-new JX also features the world’s first Backup Collision Intervention system – another first-to-market technology from Infiniti.
“Backup Collision Intervention uses sensors in the rear of the JX to detect potential obstacles when backing out of a parking space. If an obstacle is detected, the system gives visual and audible warnings,” according to the press release. “And, in case the driver doesn’t respond in time, BCI can step in and automatically apply the brakes to help avoid a potential impact.”
Among the many other advanced standard and available technologies found throughout the new JX is Infiniti Connection, a new feature that can automatically synch the owner’s schedule through Google Calendar and then provides navigation guidance to appointments – along with multiple other functions.
The Infiniti Connection system also includes Infiniti Personal Assistant, which offers owners 24-hour personal concierge services from inside or outside of their Infiniti vehicle.