Nissan will suspend operations at its powertrain facility in Decherd, Tennessee in March 2023 “pending future product announcements,” Nissan North America spokesman Brian Brockman revealed.
The plant was opened in 2014 at a cost of $319 million at the height of Nissan and Mercedes-Benz’s engine-sharing collaboration. It has been responsible for building the Mercedes 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in various Infiniti and Mercedes models, including the GLE, Sprinter, and Metris.
Infiniti Powertrain Plant was originally built to produce up to 250,000 engines a year but only managed to top out at 35 per cent of capacity in 2020. In 2021, it built just 50,000 engines, Auto News reports.
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AutoForecast vice president of global powertrain forecasting, Brian Maxim, says there is no longer enough demand to justify keeping the plant running, particularly since it stopped building engines for the Infiniti Q50 after the 2019 model year.
“Production is running out according to plan, and the cooperation with Nissan in Decherd is ending,” Mercedes spokeswoman Andrew Berg confirmed.
Nissan and Mercedes first announced a broad industrial partnership in 2010 that would see them share vehicles and powertrain technologies. This collaboration led to the creation of a $1.4 billion joint venture assembly plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico that is responsible for building various Infiniti and Mercedes models.
The partnership was inked while Carlos Ghosn and Dieter Zetsche led Nissan and Mercedes respectively, but both have since left their posts. It is possible that the Decherd plant could be repurposed into an EV powertrain plant to support Nissan’s new $18 billion electrification push. Nevertheless, a source pondered to Auto News if there is any motivation to continue the Nissan and Mercedes partnership, as issues are also experienced at the plant in Mexico.
“On the Mercedes line, the Mercedes-Benz production system is implemented; on the Infiniti line, it’s the Nissan production system,” the source added. “To get anything done was so complicated. There was a lot of confusion and conflict.”
In 2021, the factory assembled just 98,865 vehicles, significantly less than its 230,000 capacity.