Report: Nissan To Add Cheaper, Stripper Version Of LEAF To 2013 Model Lineup

OCT 5 2012 BY JAY COLE 15

The price had to come down.  Everyone knew it, the only question was when it would happen, and how they would do it.  Now it appears some existing features will be deleted to make the car more price-accessible. 

Automotive News (sub)  reports it is coming sooner than we originally had thought, saying that according to sources, the “lower-cost variant will be added as part of a 2013 model face-lift,” although they could receive no official confirmation from the company.

Nissan LEAF LED Headlights. Very Cool. Very Expensive. Gone On The Entry Level

Even now, Nissan is putting the final touches and calibrations on its US-based LEAF production facility in Smyrna, TN. 

InsideEVs got in touch with Nissan spokesperson (Katherine Zachery)  about a lower cost model and how the production facility is coming along in the US; and while she also would not offer comment on the new pricing structure of the 2013 LEAF, she said the ammebly ramp up in Tennessee has gone very well and the company is on track to start producing cars in December. 

Deliveries to customers of US-made LEAFs are expected in early March.

So, how will Nissan bring the price down? 

Besides the obvious advantage of building the car right here in the United States (over Japan and the USD-Yen currency swap), the company will steal a page out of  GM’s playbook when ‘the General’ looked to lower the starting MSRP of the Chevrolet Volt under $40,000 by de-contenting the car.

Suppliers:  According to reports, now that production is in the US, those 3rd party companies looking to supply parts to the LEAF will be asked to make cost reductions as high as 50% over what is being paid in Japan now.

Re-Engineering:  The 2013 model year LEAF will be going under a slight refresh/mid-generational update, and Nissan looks to be using this opportunity to streamline and combine some of the over-engineering that was done when the car was first rushed to market in 2010.

Nissan Navigation System In 2012 LEAF

De-contenting:  The Nissan LEAF has a lot of ‘extra’ features that really aren’t necessary if you are just looking to drive 73 miles (or less) to work everyday.  Therefore, the complex navigation system is said to be on the chopping block for something less pricey. 

Also, those fancy LED headlights, with their integrated aerodynamic design apparently have to go.   While they are very cool, and save the car perhaps a mile or two of range when driving at night, they also add about a $1,000 to the cost of the car. 

Also expected for some time in 2013 is a new battery chemistry that would allow for either some cost reduction (and weight savings) on an entry level offering, or a greater range option for the higher end models.    However, sources now suggest that may not become a reality until the fall of 2013 on the 2014 model.

In any regard, a cheaper offering, free from some of the bells and whistles that have made the EV inaccessible to many Americans, is a good thing,  

Automotive News (sub)

Categories: Nissan


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15 Comments on "Report: Nissan To Add Cheaper, Stripper Version Of LEAF To 2013 Model Lineup"

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Too bad, I thought is was going to come with a hot stripper. Maybe that’s an option?

I’ve waited a long time to put the word ‘stripper’ in the title of something I wrote! Wasn’t going to miss my opportunity, (=

This is very welcome news the car & just all regular people EVs has to get down under 25K after you take the federal money off to be able to compete

Got my Volt with a $25K out of pocket number. That included looking for a deal, using extra GM Car earnings and a PA rebate check. But got it at the magic $25K point.

You can buy a LEAF SV today for $21k after fed tax credit.

Fontana Nissan is offering $7k off MSRP. The SV is $35.2k – so that brings it to $28.2k. Then subtract $7.5k fed tax credit – $20.7k. Have to add taxes, but many states also have additional rebates. If you live in the California in the San Joaquin Valley, not only do you qualify for the $2.5k state rebate, but also the $3k San Joaquin Valley rebate – bringing the price down to ~$15k before taxes.

Why wouldn’t anyone buy one at that price?

Have they changed the models from what was announce almost a year ago? S for Stripper, SV for Super Value, and SL for Super Licious (and with optional 17″ wheels in 2013).

Great article, Jay. Anyone wants to hazard a guess how much the stripper version will cost?

Thanks George,

I’m not in the guessing game myself, but I will say dealers are getting ‘cash on the hoold’ and other incentives to sell/take inventory of 2012 LEAFs.

The average spiff was estimated to have moved from $800 over the summer to $3,300 in September on the LEAF. So if you your looking to make an educated stab at it …

I don’t mean to be snarky, but what about the parts of the car Nissan under engineered? Will the 2013 have a more efficient cabin heater, so drivers don’t have to make a choice between being warm and making their destination? More accurate info than the GOM? I won’t even go into the under engineered battery temp. management system for hotter climates. (Nissan could at least address the batt. temp. issue with a well defined battery warranty.)

I welcome the idea of more affordable EV’s in general, and a more affordable Leaf in particular. Agreed, don’t need the nav for around town driving, and if Nissan can integrate a less expensive style headlight into a more attractive front profile, I see that as a win / win.

De-content, yes. Squeezing US parts suppliers for lower costs, I guess, as long as quality doesn’t suffer. Over engineering? Nissan, how about addressing the under engineering issues that will affect the Leaf’s new car sales as well as it’s value on the resale market?

Disappointing the new battery wont make the cut for the late-arriving 2013 model. That said, if they can get the cut-down version to 25K after rebate, thats closer.

See my post above – it’s already possible to buy a LEAF for less than $25k after fed tax credit if you can find the right dealer.

Is the newer upgraded battery liquid cooled?


No plans for any active cooling as far as it’s known.

The LEAF headlights are an expensive component. It was the most expensive component in a body repair I had done. Over $900 parts cost. A completely new drivers door (which sports aluminum panels) was cheaper!! See

Real shame they could not get the 2013 to market in December. One has to wait until at least February of the following year to claim the $7500 tax credit. Buy in December and you get the money by March the next year. Buy in March and you have to wait 12 months.

I’d like to trade up if the promised more efficient heater is part of the 2013, but I’ll wait until later in the year given the way the tax credits work.

I’ll be trolling the dealer lots this December to see if I can get a 2012 for almost no extra cash after the federal tax credit and increased Nissan incentives. If Romney gets in, 2012 maybe the last year we can claim the tax credit 🙁

Sept 29, 2012 I drove my new 2012 SL LEAF off the OC Nissan (Irvine) lot for: $250 (first month & “tax”) and $200.93 a month (24 month lease/15k miles per year). It is loaded! Drives like a sports car. I have no worries w battery life! They really are “liquidating” these models. I pay $6.66 per day, no gas, no oil changes. I couldn’t find a downside. ENJOY!