The Nissan Leaf will soldier on in the United States alongside the new Ariya crossover, which is due to arrive for first deliveries this fall.
When Nissan announced Ariya pricing, it said that front-wheel-drive models featuring the standard 65 kWh battery pack would start “around $40,000,” which is roughly what the Leaf Plus in the popular middle SV trim cost two years ago.
It’s understandable why some people thought that Nissan was going to replace the Leaf with the Ariya, but that’s really not the case, Nissan’s U.S. director of EV marketing and sales strategy, Aditya Jairaj, tells Green Car Reports.
“When we’ve got both cars on the market, there will be a specific spot for each model. For example, the model year 2022 Leaf, we repositioned the Leaf; the place in our lineup shifted a little bit.”
Jairaj refers to the price cuts applied to the 2022 Leaf, by more than $4,000 on some models. As a result of that repositioning, the standard Nissan Leaf with the smaller battery is now the cheapest electric car in the United States.
According to Jairaj, the Leaf price cuts made room in the lineup so customers could distinguish the difference between the two all-electric models on the showroom floor.
“When the customer comes into a dealership, they cross-shop your models first, and then they cross-shop competitor models—so we have to make sure that our lineup is robust.”
This leaves plenty of room for the base Ariya, which has an effective starting price of $33,500 if a customer can claim the credit. That makes the Nissan Ariya quite a bargain next to the Tesla Model Y, which starts around $60,000 and isn’t eligible for the credit, as well as competitive with the base VW ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, both eligible for the credit.
Aditya Jairaj admits that the tax credit is important for how the Leaf and Ariya are positioned and how they will coexist.
“Leaf has a very specific place in our lineup. And the tax credit helps; it makes it more affordable. The reach of the Leaf is definitely much more thanks to the tax credit.”
Speaking of the federal tax credit, only Tesla and GM vehicles aren’t eligible for it anymore, as the two companies long ago reached the threshold of 200,000 qualifying EVs (battery electric and plug-in hybrid).
Toyota, Ford, and Nissan are expected to be the next three automakers to reach 200,000, in Q1 2022, Q3 2022, and Q2 2023, respectively.