The Nissan Murano crossover may soon become the latest Japanese car to abandon Japanese production. A new report notes that Nissan plans to move Murano production from Japan to its Smyrna, Tenn. plant in the 2014 calendar year not long after the Rogue makes the same change.
"With the yen stubbornly close to a record highs first seen after the 2008 financial crisis, it's never been tougher for the nation's auto and electronics manufacturers to produce competitively at home," Nissan says in a release.
While 85,000 Muranos were built in Japan, Russia, and China last year, all but 10 percent of them rolled out of Nissan's plant in Kyushu, Japan. In addition to joining the Rogue in Smyrna, the Murano would join the Altima and Maxima sedans.
For the 2013 model year, the Nissan Murano has a number of trim and packaging changes. Moving Object Detection as well as blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems are now included on the LE Platinum Edition and SL Navigation Package. Murano SV models now get an auto-dimming rearview mirror equipped with HomeLink and an available value package with a power liftgate, 18-inch wheels with a titanium finish, and nine-speaker premium sound system.
Earlier this year, we spotted a Nissan Murano prototype that appeared to be using a four-cylinder engine. A more efficient, four-cylinder Murano is likely on the way, though it's not clear whether such a model would arrive before or after production relocates to the U.S.
Nissan says it has pledged to make 1 million cars a year in Japan, so the exchange rate issue may continue to make it tough to generate a profit in the U.S. Through the first eight months of the year, 509,870 Nissan-branded vehicles were made in North America compared to 187,556 units built elsewhere.
Would you be more likely to buy a Nissan Murano or Rogue crossover if it were built in the U.S.?
Photos of a 2012 Nissan Murano are shown.
Source: Nissan, (Subscription required)