Nissan North America Inc. is offering a Voluntary Transition Program at its Smyrna and Decherd, TN, plants in an effort to part with some 300 production and maintenance workers.

The program offers employees a $45,000 lump-sum payment, plus an additional $500 for each year of service.

The buyouts are being offered because productivity gains continue to outpace low employee attrition levels, Nissan says.

In addition, higher demand for passenger cars, combined with lower demand for trucks and SUVs, has resulted in a manufacturing mix that is less labor-intensive and, therefore, requires fewer workers.

The program will be offered on a voluntary basis, and employees have until March 13 to decide to participate. Those who opt to leave will resign or retire from the company by June 30, Nissan says.

“We will provide hourly employees with as much information as they need to make an informed decision, and we expect around 300 will accept the program,” says Dan Gaudette, senior vice president-North American manufacturing and supply chain management. “If they choose to take advantage of this offer, we’ll do our best to help them make a smooth transition into the next phase of their lives.”

Nissan currently employs 5,200 at its Smyrna assembly plant and 1,000 at its powertrain assembly facility in Decherd.