Nissan’s core lineup does not include the electric compact hatchback – and that is bad news for the LEAF.
To ensure it will have a future, Nissan recently unveiled its plan to remain alive. Called “Nissan Next,” it focuses on “sustainable growth, financial stability, and profitability” with “cost-rationalization and business optimization” until 2023. This means many factories, products, and workers will be dismissed. In the video above, Nissan presented its core products to get there. While the production version of the Ariya appears, the LEAF doesn’t. The Ariya seems to be the only EV in the plans.
Besides the Ariya – the first vehicle to show up – the list includes Armada, Frontier, Kicks, Navara, Note, Pathfinder, Qashqai, Rogue, Terra, X-Trail, Z. These twelve cars seem to be the foundation over which the company will get back on its feet, avoiding the past “inflated expansion” the Carlos Ghosn era was about. So, where is the Leaf? And other EVs?
We checked Nissan’s documents about the recovery plan, and they offer some more understanding of the matter. The cover of the presentation brings the Ariya concept, which gives us a good idea of how fundamental it is for the company’s plans.
Gallery: Nissan Next Video Shows Final Ariya And Insinuates It May Kill The Leaf
Nissan starts by saying it will streamline “redundant assets” and its “product portfolio.” This last part even brings a goal: a 20 percent reduction by 2023. Instead of the current 69 models, it will have “around” 55. That may mean the company considers having even less. Nissan will probably not name the vehicles it has decided to kill.
EVs are among the four core segments the company aims to have. In the picture, we see the LEAF, the Ariya, and the IMk, an electric Kei car that will also be produced. Until 2023, two new EVs will be sold. You already know which they are.
Nissan’s focus seems to be on e-Power products. Besides the Note and the Serena, it will offer the Kicks e-Power and five new cars with this powertrain in Japan and China. There is no reference to new products for the US. The company only says it will cut fleet sales in an effort to rebuild “quality of business” there.
In Europe, we will see one plug-in hybrid – we bet on a Qashqai version – two e-Power vehicles, and three new EVs. Besides the Leaf, e-NV200, and Ariya, we can only think of Nissan’s version for the Renault K-ZE City, sold in China as the Venucia e30.
Although the LEAF appears in the "Nissan Next" presentation, the fact that it is not included among the 12 core models for Nissan is meaningful. We could already see the company was not going to insist on its air-cooled batteries or in the car itself when it started to charge absurd prices for the replacement of these packs.
We can also imagine that, if the Ariya gets a competitive price, it will make interest in the compact hatchback decrease – especially in the US, which is currently its main market. Remember the VW ID.3 will not be sold in the US because Americans are not very fond of compact hatchbacks anymore. By 2023, a third-generation should be ready to get to market. Yet, the Japanese company does not mention plans for it nor included it in its "Nissan Next" video.
That absence speaks a bunch. It is a strong indication that the first modern mass-produced EV will just keep selling for as long as the current generation lives. Anyway, our good friend Adrian Padeanu, from Motor1.com, warned us that Nissan promised to launch 12 vehicles in the next 18 months. The video shows precisely 12 vehicles. In other words, they will be put for sale until the end of 2021. Although the video description does not state that, that is a fair assumption.
Strangely, the video shows a vehicle with a name that starts with "M." Such name is not among the ones the video reveals, so it is a 13th vehicle on the list. Our friends at Motor1.com Brazil suspect it is the Magnite, a mini-Kicks for developing countries. But you see no "L" there.
A new generation for the Leaf could be in the works, but does it make sense? The Ariya will tell us.