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Nissan casting plant secured 'beyond 2020'

Booming: Nissan's Australian casting plant is so busy that the company is hiring an extra 30 staff to cope with demand.

Nissan Australia’s Melbourne aluminium casting plant wins ongoing global contracts

22 Apr 2015

NISSAN Casting Australia Plant (NCAP) has secured a number of lucrative in-house company contracts stretching into the next decade, and involving current and future models for the main Renault-Nissan Alliance brands across the globe.

Additionally, with the Melbourne-based operations now running at near capacity, NCAP is hiring more staff to cope with the increased demand for its high-pressure die-cast aluminium vehicle components.

The Dandenong plant has been running for three shifts a day, seven days a week, over the past six months, and will continue to do so “for the foreseeable future”.

Speaking to the media at the launch of the updated Micra and Juke this week, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery said the additional contract work was proof that the local automotive manufacturing industry will not die with the closure of Ford, Holden and Toyota's plants in the next two years.

“The Nissan Casting Australia Plant is uniquely placed in this country as one of a few fully integrated OEM (original equipment manufacturer) companies in Australia, and probably one of the only ones from after 2017,” he said.

“Our manufacturing business keeps going from strength to strength. NCAP continues to run close to capacity, to satisfy global demand for what we manufacture here. There has been some recent exciting developments with our casting plant.

“Put simply, NCAP is in a very strong place, working three shifts up to seven days a week to meet Nissan’s growing demand for our high-pressure diecast parts.

“Last year, we exported more than two million castings to Renault-Nissan Alliance plants across the world. Some people think that automotive manufacturing in Australia is dead. I can tell you it’s alive and well here at Nissan Australia, and it will be here for many more years to come.” Involving mostly oil pans, gearbox housings, final drive housings and electric vehicle motor parts, they are currently found in six imported vehicles ­– Nissan’s Leaf, Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder, as well as the Renault Koleos and Infiniti Q50 – with a host of other international-market models under these brands as well as Dacia and Datsun.

As some are still in development, the contracts will serve as-yet secret models with lifecycles running well beyond 2020.

Established in 1982 when Nissan made cars in Australia (its local vehicle manufacturing ceased in October 1992), NCAP employs more than 160 staff, making high-pressure die-casting, low-pressure die-casting, as well as machine, component assembly and accessories manufacturing.

NCAP export markets include Japan, the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea and Mexico.

Referring to the business as “quietly flourishing”, NCAP managing director Peter Jones said there are currently 30 job vacancies to help meet international demand.

“We’re busy, and we’re about to become busier,” he said. “Every year we make about 2.3 million casting and about 25,000 Nissan vehicle accessories including tow bars and sports bars. We make 49 separate components here – 39 castings and 10 vehicle accessories.” A small kangaroo emblem is stamped on every cast that is made in Australia.

Finally, Mr Emery added that Nissan Australia is uniquely placed within the alliance in that it operates one of nine global Field Quality Centres despite not manufacturing vehicles in this country.

“Nissan operates only nine of these globally, and all are attached to vehicle assembly plants and development centres – except one, ours, making it the only one of its kind in the Nissan world,” he said.

“Our Field Quality Centres are central to our kaizan processes, or what we do to continually improve our cars. Nissan engineers stationed here work full time to monitor how our cars perform in Australia, firstly well ahead of being launched to the public and then when they are in the market.”

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