September 6, 2013
James Sisson, Tooling Engineer, Nissan Canton, Miss., Vehicle Assembly Plant
IRVINE, Calif. – Media from around the world are enjoying a 360-degree view of Nissan Motor Company in Southern California, Aug. 19 to Sept. 15.
This is an invitation-only event that the company hosts every few years to showcase breakthroughs in vehicle technology, sustainability and market expansion. The guest list for the 2013 Nissan 360 program does, however, include room for employee reporters.
Through a photo essay contest, 20 employees won an opportunity to attend the event, including James Sisson who works at Nissan’s Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant in Miss. These individuals were selected to provide a front-line review of what’s happening at the company.
In the second wave of the program, from Aug. 26 through 30, James enjoyed all that the event had to offer. Personal highlights included seeing unique and rare concept and historical vehicles, talking with company leaders, and putting the pedal to the metal at the high-performance track.
The actual size of the operation here is sort of overwhelming, in itself. The amount of vehicles that they have here, from all over the world, even ones that don’t necessarily get sold here, you can take out and drive on the street, if you want. So, it’s a sort of a very unique opportunity for anyone that’s coming to the event.
I’ve done a lot of performance drives on the track. The amount of track time that you can have here, for free, I’m used to having to pay to go out onto a track and drive cars that aren’t necessarily as nice as what we can drive here. So, you know, a 370 coupe, a NISMO 370, even the NISMO Leaf RC. I was blown away by how well that that handles. So, you’d never be able to get to drive that, outside of some sort of Nissan event like this, I mean, you can’t even buy it.
Well, Nissan threw a little mini-GT academy for everybody, for all the reporters that were here yesterday. Everybody came over and raced on the same track, with the same vehicle. The top five people were put on a board, and then they had to come back later in the day and race on the track in a NISMO 370Z.
One German guy beat me, but he hit two cones. That was a four second penalty, and I ended up winning.
And there’s this, right, and, well, yeah, you can’t see that anywhere else either. And, you can’t just go down to your local Infiniti dealer and see this in the showroom, so, I’d highly recommend that everybody enter the Nissan competitions that they have in the future.
Before you know it, you’re in California, you know, talkin’ to executives that you’ve never met before, and, they’re just sort of laid back, and, I met Nakamura-san the very first night at the heritage dinner. He’s very laid back, very nice person, he’s definitely a car guy at heart, loves to talk about cars. I definitely hate to leave today, because, if I could stay, I’d love to stay, I mean, as long as possible really. Great experience. That was awesome.