Area hopes to capitalize on Nissan plant

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Hoping to capitalize on the new Nissan plant coming to Canton,area economic development officials are looking to steer somerelated business and industry toward southwest Mississippi.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce ExecutiveVice-president Chandler Russ, along with a delegation from theSouthwest Mississippi Economic Development Partnership, was headedto Smyrna, Tenn., Wednesday to tour Nissan’s plant in thatcity.

“We’re increasing our efforts in recruiting automotivesuppliers,” Russ said.

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The southwest delegation is scheduled to meet with productsuppliers and tour the approximately 800,000 square feetfacility.

The Tennessee plant is similar to the one planned for Canton,Russ said. The $930 million plant in Madison County is targeted forcompletion in 2003 and will have 4,000 employees.

After returning Friday, Russ is scheduled to leave Sunday forthe Society of Automotive Engineers Show in Detroit. It will be thethird time Russ has been to the exhibition.

“It’s the largest automotive show in the country,” Russsaid.

Russ said the show attracts over 50,000 people and has over12,000 exhibitors. Automotive suppliers display their items forrepresentatives of all the major automakers.

“It’s an opportunity to get our name in front of the automotivesuppliers,” said Russ, adding that he has identified about 1,300suppliers whom he believes would be “good fits” for theBrookhaven-Lincoln County area.

In years past, Russ said automotive suppliers focused theirattention on Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. Those statesare homes to Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan and Saturn plants.

Russ was hopeful Mississippi’s Nissan plant would broadenhorizons and help state communities’ chances of attractingauto-related businesses and industries.

“With the Nissan plant, we should have a stronger venue and theear of more suppliers,” Russ said.