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Nissan announced some realigning measures today that ultimately add up to resignations and relocations. The measures affect Nissan North America sales and marketing and Nissan Design America, specifically. The first reduces the number of regional sales offices around the country from 11 to just seven that are supported by 23 satellite offices. The four offices to be closed are in Herndon, VA; Pleasanton, CA; Aurora, IL; and Atlanta, GA.

The second adjustment directly involves Michigan where, back in 2005, Nissan had opened a new branch of Nissan Design America in Farmington Hills. That branch of NDA will be no more, as Nissan announced today that it will integrate the Farmington Hills studio with its San Diego design studio (shown above). The studio in Farmington Hills, which is only four years old, will remain and be repurposed by Nissan for other uses. Retreat camp, perhaps? Who knows, but the net effect of all this shuffling is a Nissan North America that's 110 employees lighter.

The Japanese automaker hopes a "voluntary transition plan" will achieve the reduction in staff. We don't know many people who would voluntarily walk away from a good job in this economic climate, so the state of California may need to open its arms for some relocating refugees from Michigan.

[Source: Nissan North America, Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty]



FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Jan. 27, 2009) – Nissan is realigning some of its North American operations to ensure long-term competitiveness in the U.S. market. The actions include a restructuring of the Nissan North America (NNA) sales and marketing operations and the integration of Nissan Design America (NDA).

NNA is restructuring its sales and marketing field operations to be better positioned to serve dealers and consumers. Specific actions include transitioning from a field structure based on 11 regional sales offices to a new structure with seven regional sales offices and 23 satellite offices in 18 locations across the United States. This shift involves the closure of four regional sales offices: Nissan Mid-Atlantic in Herndon, Va.; Nissan Northwest in Pleasanton, Calif.; Infiniti Central in Aurora, Ill.; and Infiniti South in Atlanta.

Additional enhancements to the sales and marketing organization include expanded personnel assigned to support each dealer and the creation of a dedicated electric vehicle project team.

NDA is integrating its operations into its San Diego studio beginning April 1. This action is being taken to strengthen NDA's role in Nissan's global design organization by increasing the level of participation in the exploratory and advanced phases of North American and global design projects. This integration will result in the redeployment of the design facility in Farmington Hills, Mich., for use by other functions of the company. This does not impact the research and development operations at Nissan Technical Center North America, which has facilities in Farmington Hills and in Stanfield, Ariz.

Taken together, these actions will eliminate approximately 110 positions. Nissan intends to achieve the majority of these reductions through a voluntary transition plan.

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.infiniti.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh what a bummer...

      ...I'm a Nissan designer & I have to move from Farmington Hills to San Diego CA

      Oh the humanity!!! :) :) :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, I'm sure you are right. That's why every designer Chrysler would send to Pacifica would figure out a way to STAY. (Push a transfer or just QUIT & move to a CA based corp.)

        Half of my graduating class (most MI born & bread) have relocated to CA. Year round warm weather, beautiful people, decent roads, old cars that don't rot out from salt... Yeah, WTF would want to live there?

        Most tolerate SE/ MI due to a number of us made damn good $$$ from auto related gigs. As many have dried up... a perfect excuse to escape.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You may find this surprising, but if people in Michigan wanted to live in San Diego, they are free to move there.

        In general, being uprooted is difficult for employees.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They will adjust salaries and make up any loss on your home tax free. The 10 Nissan workers just won the lotto.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You don't need AC in Michigan either. Yeah, heating costs money.

        You can probably cover the heating costs merely by the reduction in car license fees alone (on ONE car). And that's before we talk about California's sky-high state income tax rates. And if I wanted to drive an old retro car, I would already be doing so, wouldn't I?

        California has many advantages, but the costs are FAR FAR higher. You can get a house in Michigan for the price of two cars. I live in a hovel in California and it costs $500K.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No AC in MI??? Please. Michigan's humid air is a clammy mess in summer & adds to the bone chill in the winter.

        My SE/MI home had no AC & if I had some inside work to do I would visit friends & family with AC. My dog never wanted to leave the AC environments & return to my non AC summer hot box

        As for 500K CA homes... real estate / foreclosure crisis has hit the entire USA. Home prices have been dropping in CA. Yes, its higher than MI, but midwest economy is a disaster. Also after losing my a$$ on my SE/ MI home... I'm not planning to buy anywhere.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Phil: They usually don't adjust your pay... the HR rep just repeats "Its SoCal" over & over!. The SE/ MI real estate market does suck, but I knew a few designers who did a short sale on their house when they didn't sell.

        Nissan in CA is near the ocean... no AC bills, no insane winter heating bills, drive a old retro car with cheap insurance... CA is not as expensive as "advertised". JMO.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Who would want to stay in Michigan? Apparently half your graduating class! If people wanted to move to CA, they could have done so on their own. Being forced to is no treat!

        Don't tell me you can't live in Michigan without A/C. I did so for 23 years. You realize the state was founded and populated before A/C was invented, right?

        Yes, prices have been dropping in California. My house was listed at a bit under $700K a year ago.

        Many parts of California do not have year round warm weather (San Diego not being one of them), although most places don't see snow. And the beautiful people argument is interesting, given that no one out here is from around here (as you point out yourself).

        In the end, families with kids in school and both parents working do not find a forceful relocation all that pleasant. And that's even if they could afford a house anything like their old one in the new location. I have several friends who have moved OUT of California because they thought raising kids here was too expensive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah this is bad news for the guys that want to stay with the company but have to move to CA. MI R.E. market is in the tank, you will take a big hit on selling your house here if you were one of the designers/modelers that took the job in 2005 when it opened. Plus you will get half the house for the same amount in CA. Lose lose situation. Best of luck to those that do have to go.

        I hope this isn't a trend. *crosses fingers*
        • 6 Years Ago
        • 6 Years Ago
        LS2/7: You are assuming a lot. The other 1/2 of my graduating didn't ALL stay in MI. The ones that did, stayed due to above average auto based salaries. Many of those are now gone & many are moving to new parts of the USA.

        As for you living in MI without AC... People also used to hunt for their food, drive Model T Fords, eat @ drive-in restaurants, etc Point is, modern conveniences make life a bit more enjoyable. You might have missed where I stated my home did not have AC... my summer productivity dropped off on extremely hot or humid summer days.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Having done the relocation to San Diego thing myself, it is not the horror story some might try to imply.

        As far as offsetting a Michigan winters heating cost by the registration on one car, this would apply only to those who heated their home with a wood stove.

        Ls2Ls7 may have paid $500k for his house a few years ago for his "hovel", but he he would be lucky to get high 3's for it now. And if it is indeed a hovel, he would be down in the two's. Relatively new 2000-3000 sq ft homes are readily available in north county San Diego for under $400k.

        The weather is absolutely perfect. High school drop outs can work as the weather man on the evening news.
        "Can you say 'Clear, Sunny, and 75?' You've got the Job!"
        If you miss the snow, drive to Big Bear 2 hours away. I have surfed in the morning and skied in the afternoon.

        Trust me, there are many worse things that could happen than being relocated to San Diego.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My guess is that the "repurposed" Farmington Hills site will be used for the development of the next Titan/Armada/QX since it would be relatively close to Chrysler headquarters.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I used to work one block from Nissan's San Diego design center. I even dropped by at lunch to find out if there were any career opportunities (I was getting tired of my company).

      The two people I met there were dumbfounded, deer-in-the-headlights, dead-behind-the-eyes, and confused by my simple questions about what it would take to get a job there. So not everyone there is super intelligent + has good people skills. Screw 'em, I say.

      And now I live a few miles from VW's Herndon, VA facility. I managed to sweet talk myself and some coworkers in there before the paint was dry on their walls in order to check out the GTI W12-650.

      Umm... I like California, specifically San Diego, much better than Virginia.

      Random musings... I'll shut up now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Tip: it's cheaper to get your employees to quit by inconveniencing them than it is to lay them off. Then you don't have to compensate them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well Nissan knows this quite well. Nissan HQ in Torrance CA? Moved to TN... 54% of the CA staff stayed instead of moving to the new TN HQ.

        Nissan got quite a few disgruntled DET 3 people who were looking for a new start
        • 6 Years Ago
        Guess there is 1st for everything? :) :)
        • 6 Years Ago

        For once I agree with you 110%.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was born and raised outside San Francisco. I lived in LA for 16 years. I moved to SE/MI in 1994... and every time I tell a Michigander my story, they ask "WHY?"

      Simply because the California I grew up in doesn't exist any more. When I was born, CA had 12-million people. Now it has 38 million. When people in MI complain about traffic, I just laugh. Yeah, winter sucks... but it happens outside my warm home, warm car and warm office – so I deal. And in spring/summer/fall I can go water-skiing every day because my boat is 60 seconds from my front door. I can play golf almost anywhere, anytime, because I'm not competing with 38 million people (exaggeration) for a tee time. Not to mention that very good courses can be played here for less than $30. I make a damn fine living and could NEVER afford my lifestyle in CA. As far as San Diego goes, it is my least favorite CA city. Great if u like the beach. Art? Culture? Music? Fugeddaboudit! Here we have a world-class orchestra, DIA and Cranbrook Museums and a serious jazz scene. I miss my family and the pull of San Francisco is strong every time I go to visit. But for now, I'm doing well here, and an employer would have to buy my house and double my salary for me to even consider leaving. And it wouldn't be for San Diego.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I hear ya Skicat.

        Born and raised San Francisco, living down here in SD for school. Every time I visit the Bay I miss it more. San Diego seems more like an overgrown suburbia than a real, cultured city. But since I live in beautiful La Jolla it offsets that a little. Haha. Still, if I had the choice I'd be in SF.
        • 6 Years Ago
        skicat: How old are you bud?

        CA population 1950: 10.6 million 1960: 15.7 million. Its just not CA getting crowded. The U.S. population has been rapidly growing too. Look at all the warm climate city populations... all rapidly growing.

        I'll take the weather upgrade. Art & Culture totally void in CA... Please! SoCal is full of want-A-be actors & musicians...

        The DIA? Are you freakin' serious? Budget cuts have it open about 2-3 times a week... oh yeah that's "world class". I'm sorry when I hit Chicago or New York museums I don't have to call ahead!

        "Jazz" in Detroit... Come on, you are throwing up BS for non MI AB readers. Detroit's jazz radio station went belly-up when I was going to art school in the 90's. Easy Listening stations playing Soft Jazz is not a serious jazz scene (IMO). The jazz festival at Hart Plaza is a serious jazz scene.

        Sorry I disagree here & I've lived here most of my life.
        • 6 Years Ago

        I was born in 1955. How old are u? Don't matter what other warm-weather states populations are, we're talking about California, my original home state, where I spent more than 30 years of my life, both north and south. I also visit at least twice a year, speak with there family every week and read the LA and SF papers daily. I know what's up there. Current pop: 38-mil and counting. MI don't know from crowded. Yet, in the current economy, CA is losing population faster than any other state, even MI! http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2170013/posts

        The DIA is open 5 days a week - Weds-Sun. Check yr sources before u make claims: http://www.dia.org/museum_info/general_information/index.asp
        It's just undergone a $100-mil renovation, its collections rank among the best in the world and it regularly hosts major touring exhibitions. That's world-class.

        Jazz: Ed Love plays straight-up jazz nightly from 9pm - 11pm on 101.9 WDET-FM. JazzWorks with Tony Mowod, Scott Hanley and Bob Studebaker are 90.9 WRCJ's prime-time jazz programs, airing daily from 7 to 11 p.m. Sorry - no easy listening here.

        While it's no New York, there is serious jazz being played at Baker's Keyboard Lounge (the world's oldest continually operating jazz club), Bert's Jazz Marketplace, and the newest jewel in Detroit's jazz crown, Cliff Bell's. Since I've lived here, I've seen Tommy Flanagan, McCoy Tyner, Joshua Redmond, Kurt Elling, James Carter, Marcus Belgrave, and dozens of others in concert, not to mention several local knockouts, in concert. U want jazz? Detroit's got it.

        The Detroit International Jazz Fest lost its way big time early in the decade when it started featuring artists like Patti Labelle to broaden its audience. Don't get me wrong – Patti's awesome, but she's no jazz singer. Since Mack Avenue Records took over a couple of year's back, the festival has found it's groove again. However, it is certainly not the only game in town. www.detroitjazzfest.com

        Disagree all u want AZZO45b, but it sounds like u are "throwing up BS." Where do u live? Munsening?

        • 6 Years Ago
        Ski: I guess we agree to disagree on things. I've lived in SE/ MI most of my life. I've lived in Detroit, Hamtramck, as well as the 'burbs. Never heard of Munsening

        Went to school behind the DIA at CCS. Most of my school time dealt with a 2.5 days open DIA. After that I seemed to save my museum days for small local galleries or when I was vacationing out of MI.

        Most major cities have some sort of art & culture. Sorry but a "jazz city" would have a full-time radio station... Detroit used to (WJZZ?). My ex was from New Orleans & I know they still have a few. Bigger cities with big music scenes don't seem to have to limit that music to four hour blocks or limited time slots. That's my point... probably made poorly.

        Most big cities get touring bands coming in... Detroit's Motown roots, its numerous blues /rock / rap acts... one is going to see "names" coming into town. I don't think it should be a surprise that music would visit an area with 3-4 million people in the tri-county area. Just wouldn't call it a "serious scene". JMO.

        As to your CA losing population faster than MI... proves my belief that you can twist statistics to support anything. Last I checked CA had about 4 times the people of MI. Of course people LEAVING would be a larger number than those vacating MI.

        Detroit gets a bad rap. There are good things (or I would have left years ago) but there are bad (like any big city & surrounding area). Problem is many of SE/ MI's issues have stayed constant for decades. I understand why people are relocating... the USA has many interesting choices.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Closing Herndon, Va Office....guess they are freeing some added space for VW moving into town.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Big deal. So a few designers are leaving for CA. The engineering office will stay in FH which is a majority of the people there. I guess they got tired of the designers playing floor hockey and Playstation and not designing enough. At least that's what I thought when I saw the Sentra a few years ago. Let's put it this way - it looked A LOT worse than it does now.

      I always laughed at the engineer-designer war: designers come up with stuff that can't or isn't easily made (or made well) and engineers say that can't be done. Of course, you can always refer to Nissan Design manuals for radii and such. It's fun to die-lock molds too.

      From what was said earlier, this is Nissan's way of culling the herd. The really mobile (read young and single) people will jump at moving, since they live in apartments or rent something anyway. These younger people generally make less being younger too. It's CA to TN part 2.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, Carlos def. is not a fan of Michigan is he? Lol. Given how fate works, perhaps one day in the future, a re-surgent GM or Ford is gonna buy a crumbling Nissan and relocate it entirely to the North Pole.

        • 6 Years Ago
        They already do their cold weather testing up here in Fairbanks and North Pole, Alaska
        • 6 Years Ago
        My thoughts exactly. First the Auto Show then this. I mean come on. Even Mitsubishi allowed a local dealer to park a few cars on the floor. Did someone key Ghosen`s Infinity loaner last time he was in the D or what? I think it is a bit distasteful the way he is kicking Michigan while they are down. Michigan Nissan dealers must be ready to furious.

        As for the designers once they take a hit selling their houses in Michigan and find a place in Cali they will end up living in a crap rented house in the boonies and spending hours on the freeway commuting in an old Pulsar with no A/C. Plus of course leaving all their friends and family at home. Not what I would call an inspiring life for a designer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My thought exactly....I thought Nissan design had been outsourced to Yugo
      • 6 Years Ago
      There are too many Michigan-ers in CA already.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually, they're moving BACK to San Diego.

      They had a studio out there for a while and shut it down a few years ago. I used to work down the street from them, watching preproduction Z's blasting from stop sign to stop sign.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's the Z's hometown. I was surprised to be offered an upgrade to a 2007 350Z at a steal price at Avis rental when I was down in San Diego around new years. Exchanged the car after 2 days of back aches from the harsh ride and my wife throwing up and claiming it was the car's motions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hopefully this will make the designers happy and make them design less fugly cars?
      (ok ok some Nissans actually look pretty good but some others are road baleens)
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