Casting Plant Raises Nissan Australia’s Low Profile

Nissan Casting Australia’s operations include high- and low-pressure diecasting, precision machining, component assembly and accessories manufacturing. The factory has been running nonstop for the past six months.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

April 29, 2015

3 Min Read
Oz facility supplies Nissan plants in five countries
Oz facility supplies Nissan plants in five countries.

Nissan says Australia’s Big 3 may be about to end their manufacturing operations in Down Under, but its casting and parts factory is staying for the long term.

Nissan Australia says the factory is secure well beyond 2020 after it wins an agreement to continue manufacturing parts for the Nissan Leaf electric car and 38 other models sold internationally.

“Manufacturing is far from dead in Australia, and we’re proof of this,” Peter Jones, director-Nissan Casting Australia, tells a news conference.

This is an oblique reference to the decisions by Toyota, GM Holden and Ford to shutter their Australian manufacturing operations by 2018.

“Amid the turmoil that’s been reported about our country’s manufacturing sector, especially in the local automotive industry, Nissan’s been working away in the background.”

Demand is such the Nissan factory has been running around the clock, three shifts, seven days a week for the past six months.

“Every year, we make about 2.3 million aluminum castings and about 25,000 Nissan vehicle accessories, including tow bars and sports bars,” Jones says. “Together, we make 49 separate components here – 39 castings and 10 vehicle accessories.

“And right now, to be quite honest, we can’t make enough of them.”

Each component is stamped with a small kangaroo logo before being exported to Japan, the U.S., the U.K., Thailand, Mexico and South Korea.

Nissan Casting Australia was established in 1982. Its operations comprise high-pressure diecasting, low-pressure diecasting, precision machining, component assembly and accessories manufacturing.

Nissan Australia Managing Director and CEO Richard Emery says when the automaker’s various functions include manufacturing operations, Nissan becomes part of a very small group.

“We are one of only a few fully integrated OEM car companies in Australia,” he says at the news conference. “And post-2017, we may be the only one. We’re not just an automotive importer and distributor. It’s often overlooked that Nissan is also a local automotive manufacturer.”

Emery says his aim is to move Nissan Australia from being a B-team brand to the A-team and last month he told staff of his 5-year plan to achieve this.

“It isn’t just about selling more cars in the future,” he says. “It’s about invigorating the Nissan brand, improving our customer focus and further advancing our manufacturing operations.”

Nissan Australia also is home to a Field Quality Center. Emery says the automaker has nine of these globally and all are attached to vehicle-assembly plants and development centers except in Australia, making it the only one of its kind in the Nissan world.

 “Nissan has a strong and sustainable business model that we believe puts us in a unique and strong position in the Australian automotive landscape…over the next few years we may be Australia’s only fully-integrated car business,” he says.

Jones says the jewels in the crown for the plant are the electric-motor parts it produces for Nissan’s two EV models, the Leaf and e-NV200 van. These are the result of a collaboration with the federal government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

“Together, we developed what’s called CASTvac, a casting technology that eliminates the valve blockages caused by molten aluminum,” Jones says. “It avoids machine stoppages and can save us up to A$100,000 ($78,560) a year in the production of a single component.”

Some of the new business secured from Nissan Global will be exclusive to Nissan Casting Australia.

“This new business includes driveline components for soon-to-be-released new models, new motor technology and all-new propulsion systems that are yet to be announced,” Jones says.

“These developments will see Nissan Casting Australia operating well beyond 2020.”

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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