Following up Nissan's first set of U.S. buyout packages offered a year ago, employees at both the Smyrna and Decherd powertrain plants in Tennessee will be offered a lump sum payout along with medical and car purchase benefits to leave. Last year, the buyouts attracted 775 workers, though the payout at that time was just $45k plus an additional $500 for each year of service. This time, the lump sum starts at a heady $100k. Not surprisingly, Nissan is expecting more people to take the package this year than last. In fact, Nissan spokesman Fred Standish says that "market realities" mean that the Japanese automaker needs to shed some 1,200 excess employees. The packages are open for a three-year window, with the greatest sum being offered for workers who accept the packages this year. The Smyrna plant assembles the Frontier pickup, Altima, Xterra, Maxima and Pathfinder. Our bet is that the sedans will continue production as normal with the trucks and SUVs accounting for the lowered head count.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]