Nissan Frontiers get ready for change

2013 Nissan Frontier

2013 Nissan Frontier (Credit: Handout)

Later this month, the last Nissan Frontier midsize pickup trucks will roll off the line at the famed Smyrna, Tenn., manufacturing plant. Production of the small pickups will move to Canton, Miss.

According to Greenvilleonline.com, the first vehicle to roll off the then brand-new Smyrna production line was an early-model white regular cab Nissan/Datsun pickup in 1983, which eventually was called the Hardbody. The above photo is that first truck (called Job One) along with president and CEO (at the time) of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp., Marvin Runyon.

The article goes on to show how important the truck and plant were to the community and the 6,000 employees who worked there. The plant will remain but no longer produce the trucks; instead, it will make the new Inifiniti JX35 as well as the Nissan Rogue and Leaf.

For those familiar with Nissan lineage, the Hardbody was made and sold for mass production from 1986 to 1997 until the completely redesigned first-gen Frontier debuted in 1998. The second-gen Frontier came out in 2005 and was refreshed in 2009. More changes are likely scheduled in the next few years.

There have been more than 1 million Frontiers produced at the Smyrna plant, with more than 100,000 units sold in 2000, its best-selling year. Numbers at this year's end are likely to be closer to 70,000 units.

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