Nissan Says 42,700 LEAFs Sold Worldwide, Even More Committed To EVs (And Saving The World) In The Future

NOV 7 2012 BY JAY COLE 27

Nissan Says They Are About To Implement "Countermeasures" To Remove Roadbloacks To Owning EVs

During Nissan’s second quarter update in Japan (video of which below),  Toshiyuki Shiga, who is Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer, and the man in charge of Nissan’s zero emission strategy, said the company has sold 42,700 LEAFs since the 73 mile, all-electric car went on sale almost two years ago.

Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga Now Leading The Zero Emission Charge For Nissan.

The COO also took some time to discuss the progress of Nissan’s EV program, and how they see the future and the company’s mission to the greater good of mankind, and not just in the sales of automobiles (translated from Japanese):

“Sales volume of EV is slow—that is the media report that I read,  frankly speaking its (the report) disappointing. I am frustrated.  Nissan is becoming the leader in (the) zero emission area will help to contribute to solving the global warming and resource issues. 

Somewhere in the history of human beings, people will have to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  And Nissan is assuming a risk to do it first.  We are not the first one (to make an EV), but as a mass volume EV maker, we (have) deployed electric vehicles globally for the first time.”   

The Nissan executive notes that there are many different situations around the world, and that can make it difficult to market electric vehicles in certain situations; but that Nissan wants to penetrate the worldwide market with zero emission vehicles now, and in so doing they are learning what it takes to sell them more efficiently in different areas.

“It will be two years next month since we launched (the LEAF), and through sales of (the LEAF) we are learning a lot of things.  For example, why customers hesitate to buy electric vehicles, and what are the issues they face after they buy them, and how they delight the customers once they get into an electric vehicle.”

Nissan LEAF Production Will Expand To Smyrna (TN), Next Month

Nissan says they understand the roadblocks to electric vehicle ownership more thoroughly now, and they they are taking a “new lineup of countermeasures” to remove them.

Some of these roadblocks may be on pricing, as Nissan is moving production for international sales away from Japan, and into the USA and the UK starting next month to remove currency pricing pressure from the car.  The company as well will be offering the LEAF in a more basic, cheaper version to expand the base of customers who potenetially can afford the car, as well as adding a high-end luxury offering through Infiniti (the LE) at the end of next year for people at the other end of the spectrum.

Mr. Shiga sums up the conference call by remarking:

“So sales of Nissan LEAF…people may have different opinions to say this is too slow or too fast.  We would like to penetrate the market more.  But, I am (now) responsible for the task team that is accelerating the sales of Ev.  So the entire company is united to promote the sales, and I am leading this.  So in that sense, please don’t forget that we have this passion and a sense of mission to work on EV, I hope you understand this, and look at our activities from this perspective.”

Contributor’s note:  Part of this story is making the rounds on the Internet saying Nissan/COO Shiga is “disappointed and frustrated” with LEAF sales, and was delivering a eulogy on EVs.  Not so.  Sadly, as the story is reprinted, few (if any) auto journalists actually took the time to listen to the webcast (about 150 views last time I checked), and have just copy and pasted a ‘Cliff Notes’ translation of the COO’s speech from someone who did listen to it (in this case TTAC).

Unfortunately, TTAC (which is a great outlet for general automotive news) got the inference wrong thanks to some choppy translating, and probably because they were skimming for nuggets to report at the event. (Update:  TTAC was at the conference).  It happens.  Nothing intentional on TTAC’s part.  At least they are digging for original content.  TTAC also said the Nissan COO’s talk had the “undertones of an eulogy on the electric vehicle,” which if you watch the video…he clearly does not.  If anything talking EVs is his most upbeat moment after 40 minutes of a ‘nails on the chalkboard’ discussion about China.

Below video:  Mr. Shiga, Nissan COO, talks about everything Nissan in a rather lengthy quarterly results conference call…but don’t worry, I have watched the whole painful ordeal, and can tell you that the part that is of interest in regards to plug-ins starts at the 41:40 mark.

Video streaming by Ustream

Categories: Nissan


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27 Comments on "Nissan Says 42,700 LEAFs Sold Worldwide, Even More Committed To EVs (And Saving The World) In The Future"

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Has the Volt hit 30K worldwide yet?


I guess I could have just pulled up the Wiki :

“32,972” Volt/Ampera sales


Take Japan sales out of the equation and the Volt handily beats the LEAF, if the breakdown by country is correct as per what somebody put in their comment. Why Jay didn’t include the breakdown in his article is something he ought to explain. Japan is a protected market heavily tilted toward Japanese products; it should surprise nobody that the LEAF’s numbers are impressive if the truth was known and considered. Put a bold-faced asterisk or simply omit Japan sales numbers with any comparisons are made with cars manufactured elsewhere.


42700 or 47200? I heard 42700.


Initially I was very excited about the 100 mile range Nissan Leaf. For some people the Leaf is working out great. The reality of a Leaf being our sole vehicle faded as we learned more about the battery warranty and the real world range of this EV. For people who live in hot climates or have mostly highway speeds for daily commuting; without the ability to charge during work, the Leaf may not be practical for being your sole vehicle. Configuring a more affordable base version is a move in the right direction. I think the battery issues could be improved by adding battery cooling and or a small range extender; like the I3 is supposed to offer. IMO people were dissolutioned by constantly hearing 100 mile range commercials and then getting more like 60 – 75 real world range when charging to the recommended 80%. Bottom-line: add a simple series generator until batteries x4 in capacity and save money by using a very basic driver information interface. People love EVs but they have to be practical in use and cost JMO.


If Nissan would change the way they calculate remaining range, and linearize their battery bars, people would have much less range anxiety.

In chatting with another Leaf owner, we were told that the vehicle can often go 20 miles after reaching the “Low Battery” warning. That seems ridiculous.


This is great news! We always focus on North American sales, but worldwide is just as important to the success (and impact) of this vehicle.

I hope their “new line of countermeasures” includes some kind of plan for L3 charging infrastructure. They have hinted before that they would soon release a CHAdeMO charger for only $10,000. This, combined with some kind of active roll out (maybe through dealerships or partnerships?) would do a lot to quell range anxiety. It may not enable true road trips (yet), like the Tesla Supercharger network plan, but it would certainly broaden the potential consumer base. It would also have a significant psychological effect on EVs in general.

There is no battery warranty based on range and age milestones, just verbal conjecture of what is typical backed up by nothing…. A Volt battery type warranty would be a start and they are gambling with no liquid cooling of the battery….negative press can cripple…


I sat in the meeting, first row. (In the screenshot, the unruly hair is mine. The video features great shots of my backside, rightmost guy, wrinkled blue shirt. I always have that seat.) In my ear was the simultaneous translation, which I recorded at the same time. You can’t blame “choppy translating” on this one. Nissan has a multinational management and employs the finest translators in the business. The translators are taught to translate everything EXACTLY as it was said, leave unfinished sentences unfinished, and when the Japanese is choppy, there will be choppy English. The segment in question was translated by Yuki Morimoto, Carlos Ghosn’s personal translator. Nobody does it better. ( I looked Shiga-san in the eye when he said it. The Leaf question which Watanabe-san of Jiji softballed to Shiga appeared to have been less than spontaneous. Shiga-san was prepared. He referred to a media report that said EV sales are slow, and did it one better: “Frankly speaking it’s disappointing. I am frustrated.” It was a well-planned soundbite for effect. To maximize the effect, it was the last question of the day. Shiga did not say that the newspaper report was disappointing and that the COO… Read more »

Bertel and Jay, thank you for the articles and for the civil exchange. It all helps the us understand the complexities of this early technology curve.

So in a somewhat Clintonesque “it depends what the definition of ‘it’ is”-type discussion, we ask for biblical exegesis, only to receive a sibylline second-hand interpretation. Folks, this was not a long dead oracle talking. This is no lawyerly parsing of pronouns. We are at the half year results press conference. The COO sits in front of Reuters, Dow Jones, the Nikkei, Bloomberg. What he says can hit the wires before he even finishes the sentence. When he gets questions, he is expected to answer unambiguously, because every word can move markets. A hard hitting results press conference is no place for opaque statements, and none are expected. So Watanabe-san of Jiji asks: “Nissan Leaf sales volume seems to be struggling. In order to make a breakthrough, are there any counter-measures that you have in mind? And will there be any changes in local production in the U.S. and UK going forward?” In the room, the frame of reference is set for sales and production volumes. That four letter word “jobs” is lurking. Shiga-san says it’s a good question, and he is glad that it was asked, then states, according to the record: “The sales volume of EV is slow… Read more »

>>The question about the planned Leaf production in the U.S. and UK went unanswered by Shiga, by the way.<<

Reading between the lines, one could sense a split that exists within Nissan with regard to future plans with the LEAF and EVs. Could Ghosn and his hell-bent push for world conquest soon be history? Will LEAF production in the USA proceed or will there be a last minute postponement until further notice?

Most major auto manufacturers appear to be going the extended range plug-in EV route, while Nissan has been full steam ahead with the battery-only LEAF. It's easy to guess that within Nissan there are some who are taking notice, who are studying sales, and who might feel their current efforts with the LEAF is going down the wrong path.

If they are disappointed in sales, then they must have some point in mind where things come to a halt. Question is – how close are they to that point?


>> Will LEAF production in the USA proceed or will there be a last minute postponement until further notice? <<

Related to that question…… just reported that Nissan has cancelled their grand opening of the Smyrna battery plant.

Just what is going on….