Nissan has a North American quality problem: suppliers

During the automaker's Quality Forum, reporters were told that Nissan had reduced "nonconforming deliveries," a euphemism for bad batches of parts from vendors, by 85 percent from 2007 to 2011. Yet problems remain, according to a report in Automotive News, with suppliers in North America – both the U.S. and Mexico – who account for 70 percent of Nissan's global nonconforming deliveries.

That statistic presents another challenge to Nissan's North American expansion plans. The company built a quarter of its global production here last year and it just announced a new complex in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Additionally, it has already confirmed a deal to build engines for Daimler and it has already suggested that it and Daimler will do more than just cooperate on small cars.

Nissan hasn't named suppliers, nor did it get into the kinds of issues it was having. It also isn't immediately clear what – if any – of these "nonconforming" parts are being assembled into vehicles that are shipped to dealers without getting flagged at a quality checkpoint somewhere along the assembly process. Even if all of the bad parts are caught ahead of delivery to customers, remedying the problem is likely to be costly and time-consuming.

Even so, Nissan is on the case, with AN reporting that the Japanese automaker has already cut the rate of nonconfirming deliveries by 85 percent globally since 2007.

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