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Nissan Shatai Co. held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for its new vehicle assembly plant in Kanda, Fukuoka Prefecture, which is scheduled to start operations in early 2009.

The plant, to be established on the premises of Nissan Motor Co.’s Kyushu facility, is scheduled to produce 120,000 vehicles a year. The firm assembles Nissan car bodies exclusively.

“We chose this site for the new plant because there are many automaker facilities and related businesses concentrated in northern Kyushu, and also because it is close to China,” Nissan Shatai President Shigeru Takagi said at the ceremony. “We will make efforts to create a base for the best of manufacturing.”

Nissan Shatai will shift production of some models, including the Elgrand minivan, from its Shonan plant in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, to the new plant. It will close some production lines of the Shonan plant. Kanda is one of the key production sites of the Nissan group. Nissan ShaKanda, FukuokaKanda, Fukuokatai set up a wholly owned subsidiary, Nissan Shatai Kyushu Co., in the town in May.

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