Nissan Won’t Be Able to Increase US LEAF Production Until December or January

NOV 20 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 22

For months now, Nissan has been promising us that it’ll gradually increase LEAF production in the US to meet rising demand in North America.

2013 Nissan LEAF

2013 Nissan LEAF

The problem is that these production increases take time.  Lots of time apparently.

Remember when Nissan initially stated that production would be increased significantly by October?  That didn’t happen.

Due to electrode shortages, it’s now taken Nissan months to up US production of the LEAF.

Well, it’ll take a couple more months still, says Nissan’s Jose Munoz, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas:

“We are supply constrained… We will start producing more Leafs probably by the end of this year — so December January time.”

Munoz adds that that the production bump in Smryna, Tennessee will be “an important increase,” we’re not quite sure what that means, but we have been informed a target of about 2,700 per month is the ultimate goal for now.

Nissan would like for LEAF supply to be at or around 60 days in the US.  Currently, supply of the LEAF is about half that, which means that there just aren’t enough LEAFs out there.

This production increase should result in higher sales, but we likely won’t see a boost in sales until 2014.

Of note: 2014 Model Year LEAFs are in production now and should hit dealerships in December.

Nissan LEAF is Hot, But Production Shortages Mean Sales Will Remain a Bit Low for a Couple More Months

Nissan LEAF is Hot, But Production Shortages Mean Sales Will Remain a Bit Low for a Couple More Months

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Nissan

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22 Comments on "Nissan Won’t Be Able to Increase US LEAF Production Until December or January"

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David Murray

So, basically they can’t build enough batteries?

Francis L

Seems to be the same problem at Tesla. This is not good news, because with high demand for batteries, price will stop to fall. Hopefully, a lot of companies will significatively produce more cells soon.

Alan

Unless there’s a permanent problem with raw materials…demand and profit motive should (over)correct this shortage.

Eric Loveday

Yep…that’s spot on. Furthermore, it seems that any automaker out there that wants to now enter the plug-in space is finding it incredibly difficult to secure a source of cells. Hence the numerous launch delays we’ve posted on recently.

Ocean Railroader

I don’t think we have to worry about the battery glut out there that the anti EV people where ranting about.

Anon

Wasn’t that long ago that several battery companies couldn’t sell enough product to keep from going bankrupt… Interesting times. 🙂

Suprise Cat

The problem is, no major company will buy mass quantity batteries from an unproven new-comer.

George Bower

I’ve read how these electrodes are made. It is pretty simple. It is a thin sheet (foil) of either copper or aluminum roughly the shape of the finished cell. The aluminum or copper foil is then coated with the electrode “active material” which is in a liquid form but dries to form the finished electrode.

So Nissan has an “electrode shortage”. I assume they make their own electrodes ie they buy the aluminum and copper foil and then coat the foil with the active material.

Are they short of “active material” or are they short of aluminum or copper foil???? Hard to believe they are short of copper or aluminum foil. So they can’t get the ingredients to mix up the active material????

This sounds funny also.

It would be nice to know more details.

Taser54

Looks like GM is well-positioned wrt battery supplies.

ModernMarvelFan

How can a “committed” BEV company run out of battery? They saw this coming with the price reduction about 1 year ago….

I call that BS. They are trying to “artifically” limit the inventory so the news media will continue to blast how much “shortage” there is for the LEAF.

It is a marketing scam…

If there is really a shortage, then Nissan is just incompetent… If it truly believe in BEV, it would have been ready for it long time ago…

Tesla uses far more battery than LEAF does….

Of course, LEAF fans would flame me for this since Nissan can’t do no wrong….

Nate

I am a fan of the Leaf — it is a great car for a lot of people. I want it to succeed. However, I also think the shortage perception is BS.

In our local paper there are advertisements for really nice deals on leasing a Leaf for 2 years. This has been the case since this summer. When I was looking this summer there was no shortage. I considered going with the Leaf this summer, but went with another option. I had also almost got one when they first came out. The lease quotes are almost half of what mine would have been, if I would have went with the one I ordered prior to it going to market.

If there were a shortage, the dealers wouldn’t be wasting add space on this model because they would be motivated to sell what is on there lot.

Inventory on cars.com show plenty available around me too.

Nate

So my last comment I said the Cars.com comment without even checking at the supply at the moment – I had based it off the times I’ve looked the last few months. Figured I’d check to make sure it was still the case.

66 Leaf around my zip. 41 C-Max Energi. 34 Volt.

So yep — it is still the case. There are plenty of cars out there. I’m with you 100% on this one. The shortage seems like BS.

Nate

So, lets check some other markets in the top ten list. After all, maybe Portland could have unusually high inventory compared to other top markets.

66 = 97201 (Portland)
74 = 37201 (Nashville)
76 = 95814 (Sacramento)
77 = 92130 (San Diego)
81 = 80012 (Denver)
150 = 98101 (Seattle)
178 = 96801 (Honolulu)
322 = 94102 (SF)
339 = 30032 (Atlanta)
364 = 90001 (LA)

So Portland which is consistently # 5 in Leaf sales has a smaller allocation than other top 10 markets. It sure seems like there is no shortage of Leafs. That is, unless Nissan really isn’t shipping to all 50 states and if it is really just trying to sell them in the top markets.

ModernMarvelFan

I think the shortage is ONLY the S trim.

Plenty of SV and SL are available. If the dealers are desperate, they would have easily discount the SL and SV enough to match the S trim price…

io

Mitsubishi faces similar problems: http://insideevs.com/mitsubishi-confirms-no-2014-outlander-phev-for-us-looking-for-even-more-production-capacity/

So does Tesla: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/24845842

@ModernMarvelFan, do you also claim that those companies lie, are incompetent and don’t believe in EVs/PHVs respectively?

This supply issue looks like a significant logistical blunder for sure, but turning it into some conspiration theory, accusing the only automaker which so far had the balls to invest billions on EVs — and has sold by far the most vehicles — of not truly believing in this technology, is a bit far-fetched, don’t you think?

ModernMarvelFan
Those two companies are different. Mitsubishi had a battery quality issue. After it solved, it had to work with the battery supplier (who had the issues) to ramp back up the production while repairing all the existing battery issue. Tesla is also different. Tesla is currently looking to expand production beyond what it can produce based on early projection. By removing the 40KWh, the total demand of the battery is higher for the same number of the projected yearly Model S. Nissan is different. It doesn’t have battery issue like Mitsubishi (unless it is repairing a bunch of battery in AZ which we don’t hear about). It lowered the price early this year and started a cheaper model/trim S to increase demand. Then it opened battery factory (its own, different from Tesla) in the US to meet the increased demand. But did it meet it? NO. For a company who claims to have plants on three continents and at least 3 battery factory to match, this “crying shortage” is ONLY a result of incompetence at the management if it is real. If NOT, then it is just another “marketing scam” to stop on media coverage…. Apple does the same thing.
io
Fascinating stories… Any source? Regarding how different (or not) those companies’ situations are: Mitsubishi Outlander: “The PHEV is expected to arrive in CY (calendar year) 2015 and the delay is indeed due to lack of battery supply…” Only some 4300 got recalled, which is about 1 month of production at the current rate. The reason it won’t come to the US for yet another year is (quote from the article linked above, which apparently you haven’t bothered to check) “same issue as Nissan – not enough batteries.” Tesla: (quote) “Elon Musk said battery shortages were hampering production. The shortage is likely to continue until next year”. I don’t believe that canceling the 40 kW*h S a while back has anything to do with it (it wasn’t popular in the first place), but that’s irrelevant: Tesla botched either that decision, their forecasts, and/or supply management. Nissan: “We are supply constrained… We will start producing more Leafs probably by the end of this year”. I don’t see how the number of factories is in any way relevant: US Leafs all come from Smyrna. Nor how Nissan building its batteries shields it from supply issues: those aren’t made from thin air. Introducing a… Read more »
Nate

So there are about 2900 cars available right now, and Nissan has been averaging 1800 a month this year in sales. This doesn’t seem like a shortage, and it doesn’t seem like they aren’t able to meet current demand. So, I call that BS.

I didn’t see anyone call this a sin, so lets not put words in peoples mouths.

All it is is marketing spin. They do there best to put a positive light on it. That is no sin, that may be is smart marketing. Still, lets not be fooled that there is a serious shortage which affects peoples ability to buy the car. At least in their top markets, there are plenty of cars to buy.

Jay Cole

Without getting into the debate to much..or what demand is for the LEAF, it is probably not fair to add January and February when there was no 2013 model (or pricing) into the “average cars sold”.

Nissan has sold 16,775 since the 2013 went on sale 8 months ago…about 2,100.

Current inventory is at an all-time high as the line production volume is actually ramping now (but the level is well below industry norms still). It is fair to say regionally there are places that are stocked as well.

Nissan had put production in Smryna for the LEAF in Q2 for the new model at a level just under 2,000 units a month…all we know is that estimate was a mis-read and they have been range bound (2100 +/- 300 cars) since the 2013 came out.

That variance is too shallow to not have an issue of some kind. Check out the Chevy Volt’s swings per month even though they have sold less (16,016) over the past 8 months – something akin to this is what we should be seeing for the LEAF.

Nate
Nit nIt:) I figured averaging the Leaf’s best year would give it a better average for folks. If I were trying to make it look lower I would have figured about 1073 a month for the total number of months the market divided by the total sales, going off insideev’s charts — which I do read and very much appreciate. I don’t know if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to work at a car dealership (I don’t recommend it). Its pretty well known that January and February are not high selling months in most markets. Most mainstream models sell less during these months. If you leave out those months your average sales will be higher. Inventory was also really high when I was in the market to buy and deciding what to get in July. There were more Leaf’s in stock vs. Volts and C-Max’s combined in my area. That’s the point I really started following things closer again. I’m confused when I hear people report or post about shortages, because I just don’t see it where I am at. Tey’ve been advertising nice discounts and everytime I ping the inventory count there are cars available. That said, you’ve been… Read more »
Spec9

Crank up the battery manufacturing and offer models with MORE BATTERY. I’m sure there are some people that would like a 40 KWH or maybe even 60 KWH Leaf.

kdawg

Sounds like Nissan needs a Giga-factory.