Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: Brent Co | posted December 19, 2014 13:14
Philippine-Bound Nissan Navara NP300 in full steam at Thailand plant
Production of the Philippine-bound 2015 Nissan Navara NP300 bound recently commenced at its new plant to prepare for its debut in late first quarter of next year. The new plant is located at the Nissan Motor Thailand industrial estate in Bangna, Thailand which joins the first plant and a new ASEAN R&D facility as well.
A 3.7-Billion Thai Baht investment was made for the 580,000 square meter facility that resulted in 2,000 new jobs. The plant has a target capacity of 150,000 units annually, however, plant officials say that their current capacity is set at 88,000 units; of which, more than half is exported to 45 global markets. It was also revealed that the plant will be producing an additional SUV model on the same assembly line. This will be a pickup platform vehicle (PPV) SUV based on the Navara NP300 as previously confirmed by Nissan Chief Vehicle Engineer Takashi Fukui to Autoindustriya.com.
We visit Nissan’s new pickup plant to get a closer look at the production hub for the 2015 Nissan Navara NP300. It was a strictly confidential affair as cameras and smartphones were restricted from the assembly line. The facility was set up like the usual automotive manufacturing plant. However, application of optimized methodology was applied to the assembly lines to make production more efficient. The plant also has a number of Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), a mobile robot that follows markers in the floor for navigation and transports essential materials around the facility. The new Nissan plant is one of the first automotive plants in Thailand making use of AGV transports.
The plant boasts of a 'Zero Disharge Program’ where industrial wastewater is recycled through reverse osmosis. Nissan has also revealed that they have achieved an 85% localization ratio including the engine plant. The plant houses a body shop, an advanced painting facility where the raw body of the Navara is finished using a 3-Wet system.
On the assembly line, the Navara NP300 slowly comes to life as it enters the chassis line where different parts are installed by workers aided by robots. Moreover, the engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake and power steering are filled automatically and thoroughly checked by facility personnel while on the chassis line. It is interesting to note that the process of checking all the necessary fluids takes about 3.27 minutes. The plant also has a quality assurance test area composed of around 20 personnel; a wheel alignment tester; and a spare parts section where different vehicle components were stored for future use.
The facility also houses a test track for batch testing of vehicles to ensure consistent quality and durability.
As reported previously, Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) will offer 7 variants of the 2015 Navara NP300; all with rear coil spring suspension as opposed to the traditional leaf spring setup. It will be fitted with the refreshed YD25DDTi 2.5-liter common rail diesel with variable geometry turbo engine in Mid (163 PS) and High (190 PS) versions. It can be mated to either a 7-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission.
Check out our first drive story of the 2015 Nissan Navara NP300 to see our initial impressions of Nissan's new-generation pickup truck.