Lear ( LEA) and Tachi-S of Japan formed a venture to supply seats to Nissan ( NSANY). Ground was broken Thursday on a 90,000-square-foot plant at Mt. Juliet, Tenn., to supply seats to Nissan's assembly plant in nearby Smyrna. The Mt. Juliet facility will be the venture's first U.S plant. The factory is to be operational in mid-2007 and will employ up to 170 people, the company said. "A top priority for Lear is to diversify its business with a strategic emphasis on expanding sales to Asian automakers," Lear said. "We are committed to providing Nissan the best service, quality and interior products available in the industry today." Lear's stock was down 69 cents at $17.60.