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Nissan Launches First Full-Size Sport Utility Vehicle; 2004 Pathfinder Armada Joins Nissan SUV Line-Up.

Business Editors/Automotive Writers

CANTON, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 13, 2003

Nissan North America produced its first full-size Pathfinder Armada sport-utility vehicle today at the company's Canton, Mississippi, assembly plant, 10 days ahead of schedule, in what Senior Vice President for U.S. Manufacturing Dan Gaudette called a testament to employees' hard work and dedication.

The powerful, eight-passenger Pathfinder Armada joins a line-up of Nissan SUVs that includes the popular compact Nissan Xterra SUV, the mid-size Nissan Pathfinder premium SUV and the Nissan Murano crossover SUV. The Pathfinder Armada will go on sale at 1,100 Nissan dealers nationwide later this fall.

"This early launch is a testament to how the Nissan team responds when given a bold objective," Gaudette told workers gathered in the plant's Pre-Delivery area for the Job One event. "Launching a new vehicle is always a challenge. But to do so ahead of schedule only two-and-a-half months after opening a completely new plant and introducing our first Job One says a lot about how this team operates. From the designers to the engineers to the technicians to the support staff to our supplier partners, everyone has worked hard to make our first full-size SUV a winner all around."

The Pathfinder Armada's launch comes on the heels of the successful launch of the all-new Nissan Quest minivan on May 27th. The Quest, now in dealerships, was the first vehicle built in Mississippi, helping the state usher in an entirely new industry.

The $1.4 billion, 3.5 million square-foot Canton assembly plant is an important contributor to NISSAN 180, a three-year business plan aimed at expanding Nissan's product line-up and establishing sustainable, profitable growth for the company worldwide.

The Pathfinder Armada sports a spacious interior, plenty of cargo room and an all-new 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve Nissan Endurance V8 engine, which is assembled at Nissan's powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn. The Pathfinder Armada is designed for customers with active lifestyles looking for a higher level of style and more flexibility than current full-size SUVs.

Nissan's first full-size SUV features fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats, seating for either 7 or 8 passengers and a number of safety features, including Nissan's Advanced Air Bag System, LATCH child seat anchor system and Zone Body construction with front and rear crushable zones.

"This is a great truck that should underscore how competitive we'll be with our full-size products, all of which will come from the Canton plant," Gaudette said. "Because of the innovation and workmanship that will go into every one of these vehicles, we hope to win a lot of customers to the Nissan brand. The Pathfinder Armada will be a great flagship among Nissan's SUVs."

Later this fall, the Canton plant will launch the much-anticipated Nissan Titan King Cab and Crew Cab full-size pick-up trucks. They will be followed in early 2004 by a yet-to-be-named full-size Infiniti luxury SUV. Later in 2004, the Canton plant will become the second production source for the Altima mid-size sedan, which now is built at Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn. assembly plant. When at full capacity, the Canton plant will produce 400,000 vehicles a year.

Nissan has invested nearly $4 billion in its three U.S. manufacturing facilities. In addition to the Altima, Nissan's Smyrna plant builds Nissan Maxima sports sedans, Nissan Xterra SUVs, the full line of Nissan Frontier compact pickup trucks and in the fall of 2004 the next generation Nissan Pathfinder mid-size SUV. In Decherd, Tenn., employees machine components and assemble transaxles and all engines used in Nissan's U.S.-built vehicles.

Nissan provides unique and innovative automotive products and services that deliver superior measurable values to all stakeholders in alliance with Renault. Recognizing its 70th anniversary this year, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is currently at the top level of profitable automakers in the global automotive industry. Employing 125,000 people worldwide, Nissan plans to design, produce and sell over 3 million passenger cars and commercial vehicles in more than 190 countries in fiscal year 2003.

More information on Nissan and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles in the United States can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.Infiniti.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Aug 13, 2003
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