Nissan To Boost Leaf Production In Tennessee

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Earlier this year, thanks to production moving to the US (Smyrna, Tennessee), Nissan reduced the price of its electric Leaf for US customers by over $6,000. That was enough to stimulate a big increase in demand. But demand has been outstripping supply throughout the year. Now, Nissan intends to increase production of the Leaf in Tennessee in order to better match that demand.

The increase in demand between 2012 and 2013 has been enormous. In all of 2012, Nissan sold 9,819 Leafs. From January through November 2013, it sold 20,081 (141% more than the same period last year). 2013 sales have already more than doubled those of 2012.

On top of that, another good sign for Nissan is that its sales figure almost have amounted to that of the Chevy Volt in 2013, which is at 20,702. The Chevy Volt is considered a competitor of the Leaf, despite noteworthy differences such as a range-extending gasoline engine.

Image Credit: Daniel.Cardenas

Nissan reportedly has a 20-day supply of the Leaf remaining for 2013, so it looks like it won’t be able to pass up the Volt in 2013. “We are supply constrained… We will start producing more Leafs probably by the end of this year — so December January time,” he said.

Notably, the Leaf has become so important to prospective electric vehicle buyers, that it is the main reason customers are referred to the Nissan brand!

“From a purely attraction and branding point of view it’s already a very good car,” according to Jose Munoz, Nissan’s senior executive of sales and marketing for the Americas, at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles.

According to Reuters: “Munoz was promoted to lead Nissan’s North American business this month as part of a broad management shakeup at the company. He takes on his new role January 1.”

Keep up with all the latest Nissan Leaf & electric car news here on CleanTechnica, or even subscribe to our EV newsletter!

Image Credit: Daniel.Cardenas

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Nicholas Brown

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4 thoughts on “Nissan To Boost Leaf Production In Tennessee

  • I’m tired hearing about Nissan are ‘going to’ increase production. they’ve said that for half of 2013. I believe they are purposefully limiting production until the new heat resistant battery comes online. If they tried to fully meet demand right now, that’s just more warranty exposure for them.

    The good news is that it helps keep the value of my current LEAF higher than it would be without this shortage of EV’.s

    • Ha. I heard the bottleneck is due to the battery cells used in the battery packs. But just second-hand info.

      • “That’s what we learned speaking with Billy Hayes, vice president in charge of global sales of the Nissan Leaf, at the in-depth Nissan360 event in Southern California this week. Hayes said thatNissan did recently decide to increase Leaf production – from around 2,000 a month to 2,500 – but that it just takes time before that decision turns into more vehicles out the door. “What we wanted to see was a sustained 2,000 [sales] a month and it’s no secret that we’re running kind of tight on dealer inventory,” he said.

        “What people don’t really understand is that yes, we have capacity but there is also a lead time because of electrode production.

        Between the time that we make a decision to increase production to the time it actually goes up is about six months. We recently made the decision to increase production in the Smyrna plant, but we won’t see that until November or December.”

        The Leaf’s electrodes come from AESC, a joint venture between Nissan and NEC. AESC builds the electrodes in Japan and delivers them in basic form to Nissan. Then, they still need to be processed into modules in Smyrna (or, for UK production, in Sunderland) before their shelf life is up. In Japan, where around 1,000-1,500 are made each month, just like Sunderland, Nissan can adjust Leaf production a bit faster because the electrodes don’t need to travel as far (it can take 30-60 days for the electrode rolls to get from Japan to Tennessee). And that is how electrodes affect Leaf sales.

        “The status is that we’re planning on coming out with a version of the Leaf in China next year,” Hayes said. “Right now, we’re going through the testing phases.”

        Good article with more good stuff….

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