DRIVE BRIEFS Pathfinder production to move to Tennessee

From wire service reports

Nissan North America Inc. has announced that it is moving production of the Pathfinder sport utility vehicle from Japan to Tennessee, an expansion that could mean 1,500 new jobs in the state.

The company said the move will require an investment of $250 million at the Nissan plant in Smyrna.

Nissan senior vice president Emil Hassan said the 2005 Pathfinders should begin production in Smyrna in fall 2004.

The Smyrna plant already produces the Altima and Maxima sedans, the Xterra SUV and the Frontier pickup truck. Hassan said the plant's capacity after the expansion will be 550,000 vehicles per year.


Last month, a national study ranked Nissan's Smyrna plant the most productive in North America.

New small Chevy

Chevrolet Motor Division will name its all-new small car Cobalt, according to Mary Larson, marketing director for Cavalier and Cobalt.

"We think Cobalt -- a word associated with power, strength and dependability -- is a great fit for our new small car," said Larson.Cobalt will be part of a new small car lineup at Chevrolet. Cobalt will compete in the premium small car market against imports like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The recently announced Chevrolet Aveo will compete in the entry-level small car market.

The Cobalt will be introduced as a 2005 model. It will be built at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, assembly center.

Chrysler plans

The game plan at Chrysler calls for a remake of the Dodge Durango sport-utility vehicle this fall as an '04 model and remakes of the Jeep Grand Cherokee sport-ute and Dodge Dakota pickup for the '05 model year.

The new Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible comes out next spring, same time as the rear-wheel-drive LX sedans that replace the front-wheel-drive LH sedans.


Whatever happened to the Tomahawk, the high-performance motorcycle Chrysler unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show?

"The reaction was very good on the auto-show circuit; we continue to look at producing it, and will decide later this year," an insider says.

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