LEAF Sales To Double To 20,000 This Year On Confirmed US Production in December

5 years ago by Jay Cole 14

Nissan LEAF Assembly To Commence In Smyrna, TN in December

Smryna Front Entrance Rendering

At the start of this fiscal year for Nissan, the company said that it would sell 20,000 LEAFs in the United States, and lets just say the first few months have not been stellar.

Last month the company improved to 510 units sold, up from a paltry 370 in April.   Nissan, and the CEO Carlos Ghosn himself, had assured the public it was not because the car was not in demand, but because all of worldwide production came from one factory in Oppama, Japan.

Now, Bill Krueger, who is the vice chairman of Nissan North America has confirmed not only the start of production in Smyrna, TN in six months time (December), but that sales will more than double last year, and Nissan will still achieve the 20,000 units sold in the US before year’s end (which for Nissan is March 31st).  That is a lot of LEAFs to move off dealer lots to close out the year.

Japanese Workers in Oppama, Japan

We’ve had to fulfill demand from one plant globally,” Krueger said. “Once we  localize it in December, the second half of the fiscal year is when we’ll see  most of the supply, demand be available.”

The statement was made Sunday in Los Cabos, Mexico, while visiting the B-20  business summit, and follows the CEO’s statement earlier this year that the first relief for Nissan on US supply of the LEAF will be noticed in September’s sales,  “you can expect to see the sales move up dramatically starting in September.”

 

Nissan's Smyrna Plant Over Head

Automotive News (Sub)

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14 responses to "LEAF Sales To Double To 20,000 This Year On Confirmed US Production in December"

  1. Schmeltz says:

    Wow…No shortage of optimism there. I expect to see sales improve, but 20,000 is a pretty lofty number. Good luck Nissan!

  2. TAP says:

    That’s assuming there is actual demand for 20,000 units/year. Which I sincerely doubt. I think 5,000/year is about right.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      There certainly is a varied opinion on what the LEAF’s sales will actually pan out to be going forward.

      Thankfully we don’t have to wait much longer to get the answer to that question.

  3. backstroke says:

    Noticed LEAF inventory has improved a lot over last month to 6 weeks and they are targeting for September for sales to improve. Have they ramped up production in Japan at the single plant in order to supply these new inventory levels, or was the bottleneck batteries? If so where’s the increased battery volume coming from, Sunderland? Or is demand so bad elsewhere in the group (Renault) that they can allocate all current battery production to the LEAF?

    Dunno just doesn’t seem to add up when before Nissan had no LEAF supply and we are in the limbo land before new plants kick-in.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      The bottleneck really was in the batteries to some extent. Specifically, getting the first wave of Renaults and LEAFs into Europe.

      Sunderland put out a handful of packs to end Q4 of 2011 (which ran through the end of March), and is now taking some of the burden off of the AESC Zama plant. That being said, Oppama, can only put out about 5,000 LEAFs max in a month, and Nissan was already producing over 3K, even with the battery issues.

      Over the summer you are looking at probably an added capacity of 1,000-1,500 LEAFs to be distributed around the world, and that is showing up already in the US, as the 2012 inventory has jumped from 600-700 (where it has been around for the better part of 6 months) to over 1,500 this past month. Which is likely about a quarter of where Nissan wants it to be.

      I’d say your going to see 4 digit sales numbers from here on out, maybe one more month in the 700-900 range. I’m not sure of the extent/timing of the shutdown/crossover this summer and how that will affect US supply, but by the time MY 2013s are out in the fall, we will know the US appetite for all electric cars.

      As for Renault demand, between the Fluence and Kangoo, they have over 25,000 back-orders. I’ve not seen anything on the demand for the Twizy, but the ‘winner’ according to Renault is the Zoe, which gets 210 km (131 miles) on the NEDC cycle, which is low 90s EPA for 20K USD + $100 batt lease. Goes on sale in the fall.

      When it is all said and done, Europe will likely be a larger market than the US for EVs…for obvious reasons.

      1. backstroke says:

        Thanks Jay. Sounds about right I guess. 🙂

        Wonder how different the 2013 Smyrna produced model will be compared to current. Know in Europe Nissan plan on redoing some of the body panels in an attempt to improve the overall look.

        Guess if Nissan are ramping up MY 2012 inventory this late in the cycle, they’re confident MY 2013 updates won’t put a damper on those sales, just seems a little late in the model year to be doing it.

        Will be interesting to know what the initial production size will be out of Smyrna, guessing something similar to current Volt production numbers, ~5k a month. In the right ball park?

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Good question about what the production level will actually be set at when it begins in Smyrna. And one I don’t have an answer to unfortunately.

          I’m sure it will be nothing close to what the total capacity will be.

          1. Stan Stein says:

            Jay It is GOOD to see you back and active on a regular site. Do you know what the changes will be for the 2013 leaf? I am building a new home and want to build in the necessary wiring and provide for floor installation without later tearing up the garage floor. Do you know where I can get specs for construction purposes?

            My question has to do with induction charging.

            1. Jay Cole says:

              Thanks Stan, nice to be back as a ‘regular’. I’m pretty familar with the 2013 LEAF, I guess perhaps that should be a post?

              Anywhoo, I think we went over the basics of setup for wireless, but the best place to get the charger itself, and go over the basic setup is probably at pluglesspower.com.

              They are currently working on a test run of 500 units in their ‘Apollo’ program, which is specifically geared for the LEAF and Volt. You may still be able to get into the program, even though it is underway. They would for sure have construction/build sheets on an inductive project.

              They also aren’t terribly expensive at just under $3,000 for most units installed (through Sears).

  4. MrEnergyCzar says:

    They should add a couple of battery cells to increase the range, there should be room for this to be done already…. The Honda Fit and Ford Focus range is already better…… You should be able to get a great deal this Fall on a Leaf…

    MrEnergyCzar

    1. green-ie says:

      No, they need to fix the capacity loss problem first. Nissan screwed up royally by not giving the batteries any sort of temperature control and customers are paying for it. Nissan isn’t standing beside those customers, the warranty states that as long as the battery still charges it’s good. So, it may only get 20-30 miles per charge in a few years but that’s totally fine. Unless you’re a LEAF owner who’s stuck with a car with half it’s range from 5 yrs ago.

      2 owners already lost 2 bars on their LEAF’s and that could about 25% range lost. 2 owners, out of 13,000 but it’s only been a year.

      1. NRGTom says:

        Things get old but Nisssan said 80% loss after 5 years is normal. Everyone will lose 2 bars by then & the car has been out 18 months. 2 out of 13,000 @ this point I think sounds right.

        People are stupid. Prob most of these cases are idiots who dont follow instructions or bought a car in a place they are arent well suited for how they are gonna drive them and then are shocked to see a bar or two gone when they thrash the car around for 15000-20000 miles in less than a year in 110 degree weather.

        1. JPWhite says:

          That’s right blame the problem on the owners.

          The most recent EV Project report shows that upwards of 80% of LEAF’s are charged to 90% or greater SOC each charge cycle. Folks are not using the ‘long-life’ charging schedule. Why not?

          The car comes delivered with a default 100% charge level. People don’t read manuals. Other than explain the prospect of battery degradation overtime (just like tire wear) no attempt is made to educate the customer on how to get the most from their vehicle. This is NEW technology to most people, they don’t know how to feed and care for their EV’s. Nissan have failed to educate, maybe because they are more focused on convincing us the car can easily go 100 miles on a charge to sell more of them. To immediately tell folks to cut usable range by 20% the day you buy it wouldn’t go over very well.

          Despite all this, perfectly well educated careful drivers have lost capacity if Arizona.

          If the car is fragile, it is not ready for prime time.

          1. Rick says:

            Mostly I agree. Nissan is covering themselves in the manual and with the waiver when you get the car, but are not making a huge effort to really get in the customer’s head about it.

            Really you can’t ask a salesman to counter sale is car though it just won’t happen.

            The issue is not the 100% charge IMO—as you say everyone is doing that & Nissan only suggests using 80% to extend life past whats expected. The issue is hot weather–the first time you take your car out & drive it 80-90 miles and its 120 degrees out, you have wounded your car by some factor