CANTON, Miss.—Nissan is trimming production at its Canton plant as full-size pickup and commercial van sales slide.
As many as 700 employees could be idled following the cut in output, a Nissan spokesman said.
On Jan. 25, Nissan will discontinue one of two shifts that build the NV commercial van. On Feb. 22, the Titan and Frontier truck line will go from three to two shifts.
"When you look at where the market demand is and where we are seeing sales for the next year, particularly on NV and on Titan, we are just trying to make sure our production is aligned," Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman said. "We feel with the single-shift pattern on vans and the two-shift pattern on the trucks that we can satisfy the market demand."
U.S. sales of the Titan full-size pickup last year dropped 4.7 percent to 50,459 while NV van deliveries fell 5.4 percent to 16,902. The Frontier midsize pickup saw a 7.1 percent uptick in volume, with 79,646 sold in 2018.
Brockman could not immediately say how much capacity is being taken out of the plant, which can produce 450,000 vehicles annually.
Nissan also assembles the Altima sedan and Murano crossover at the Canton factory. The 4.7-million-square-foot plant also will build the next-generation Frontier.
David vs. Goliath
The Titan plays David to the Detroit 3's Goliath in the highly competitive full-size pickup market. In 2018, Nissan's Titan mustered a mere 2.1 percent share of the full-size pickup segment.
"The product is solid," Jared Haslam, Nissan North America product planning chief, said on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show this week. "The challenge is, from a product perspective, everybody else is really good, too."
Nissan is focusing on Titan configurations that are selling instead of stocking every possible option.
"We are looking at ways to boost marketing and ways to get some of the aftermarket engaged in the product, because they play together," Haslam said. "We are pulling on all the levers to try to improve sales."