Nissan will build a $500 million plant in this south-central Tennessee town to provide engines for light trucks and cars built 60 miles north at its plant in Smyrna, the Japanese automaker said.

Nissan Motor Manufacturing U.S.A. officials planned a news conference later in the day to provide details of the plan.Nissan told local officials it is considering plans that would employ anywhere from 500 to 4,500 people, said Charles Sons, publisher of the Winchester Herald-Chronicle.

"It means the world to us here," Sons said.

"We did not have that large of an unemployment factor, but we're always looking for something to put people to work," he said.

Decherd, a town of 2,200, is about 80 miles southeast of Nashville.

To date, the Smyrna plant opened in 1980 is Nissan's only U.S. facility.

The Smyrna plant employs 3,900 people and annually produces about 250,000 Sentras and light pickup trucks.

Nissan is already spending $490 million to expand the Smyrna plant to produce another 180,000 compact cars each year.

"It's going to be a midsize for what we call the lower midmarket segment. It's a Stanza-class vehicle. We don't yet know whether it's going to be a Stanza replacement or get a new name. We just haven't decided," Jerry Benefield, president of Nissan Motor Manufacturing U.S.A., said last fall.

"We think it's going to be the largest segment in the market," Benefield said.