Nissan North America Inc. announces 775 hourly and maintenance workers have agreed to leave their jobs at its Smyrna and Decherd, TN, plants.

When the company announced it was offering voluntary separation packages at the plants on Feb. 20, it expected 300 would take the offer. Some 6,200 employees (5,200 at Smyrna vehicle assembly plant and 1,000 at Decherd engine plant) were eligible.

Of the 775 workers who are leaving NNA, some 303 are retiring.

“This program has resulted in tangible benefits for employees and the company,” Dan Gaudette, senior vice president of North American Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, says in a statement.

“Each person is unique, but several employees have already told us the program will allow them to return to school full-time, to start up businesses they have dreamed about or to start enjoying their retirement. It was the right program at the right time,” he says.

Nissan instituted the buyouts in response to slowing light-truck sales, saying it needed fewer workers to build passenger cars, which are in greater demand.

Nissan offered employees at the plants a $45,000 lump sum payment and $500 per year of service as part of the separation program.