“Canada is Nissan's fifth largest market, and we’re fully committed to the country,” Papin said a keynote speaker at the 2023 Automotive News Canada Congress in Toronto. “We have many options if we’re looking to regionalize the supply chain and Canada is a good place to assemble battery packs and also source materials.”
The Japan-based automaker is looking to bolster and regionalize its entire supply chain, especially after recent disruptions that delayed the delivery of new cars and parts, Papin said.
“There are so many difficulties and tensions in the supply chain, which speaks to our need to build regionalized, North American-centric supply chains,” he said.
“We’ve done better at duplicating our sourcing of materials. We are now sourcing closer to where we produce, which results in a more stable supply chain.”
Canada, he added, “has plenty to offer when we look at how to build that supply chain and how to get involved.”
Over the last year, Ontario and Quebec have drawn billions in EV investments.
Stellantis and LG Energy Solution, for example, last year announced plans to build a $5-billion battery plant in Windsor, Ont., while Volkswagen has singled out Canada as the possible site for its first North American battery plant.
In Becancour, Que., a $500-million cathode production plant is under construction under a joint venture between GM and Posco Chemical. The new facility will supply battery materials for use in future GM electric vehicles.
“We have three [vehicle-assembly] plants in Mexico and two in the United States,” said Papin. “If I project five-to-six years out, I don’t see the need for another plant, but there are other ways to grow plenty in Canada and elsewhere.”
Currently, Nissan sells two battery-electric vehicles: the U.S.-assembled Leaf compact hatchback and the Ariya crossover, which is built in Japan.
But, noted Papin, the automaker is planning to electrify its entire product lineup.
When asked whether Nissan will launch an electric pickup, Papin said, “We’re launching a lot of new products in the marketplace. I imagine a lineup of EVs that looks a lot like our current internal combustion engine portfolio. It makes sense to compete in all the large segments of our marketplace.”
According to sibling publication Automotive News, Nissan is said to be exploring a lightweight electric pickup for the U.S. market.