Nissan Motor Co. plans to start U.S. production of its Infiniti JX sport utility vehicle next year as it moves more of its manufacturing away from Japan amid a stronger yen.
The move, which follows an earlier decision to transfer production of its Rogue SUV to the United States, comes as Japan automakers look for ways to reverse currency-related losses as the yen's strength against the dollar makes vehicles shipped to the U.S. from Japan less attractive and less profitable.
Production of the Infiniti JX will be moved from Japan to the automaker's Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing plant, where production of Rogue models will also be transferred.
To accommodate manufacturing of the Infiniti JX and other models in Smyrna, Nissan will transfer production of its Xterra SUV and Frontier pickup models to its Canton, Mississippi facility.
By 2015, Nissan aims for 85 percent of its vehicles sold in the Americas to be built there, up from the current localization rate of 69 percent.
Through March, Nissan had 9.3 percent of the market share in the United States for the year, according to Autodata. The company finished last year with a share of 7.8 percent.
But Nissan's North American head said on Wednesday that there is a risk its slice of the U.S. market may shrink due to a lack of auto parts from Japan following last month's massive earthquake and tsunami.
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