U.S.-Built Nissan LEAF Is Shipped To Canada, Mexico, Korea and… Japan

JAN 27 2015 BY MARK KANE 13

Nissan recently began sales of the Nissan LEAF in the South Korea, but LEAFs are not being shipped there from nearby Japan.  The Korean LEAFs are in fact coming from the U.S.

What’s even more interesting is that Nissan revealed that U.S.-built LEAF is exported not only to Canada, Mexico and Korea, but also to Japan.

To Japan? Why is Japan getting U.S.-built LEAFs when the island nation has its own LEAF assembly line and battery production facility?

57,000 lithium-ion battery packs for LEAFs were manufactured in the U.S. in 2013 & 2014, according to the press release.  That’s enough for the over 50,000 U.S.-made LEAFs that were sold and a few thousand that are en route for deliveries. But this is not enough to supply LEAFs sold in Japan (well over 10,000 a year).

So, how’s it possible for the LEAF to be exported from the U.S. to Japan and why?  Honestly, we don’t know the answers.  Perhaps only a small amount of cars were shipped?  Perhaps non-complete gliders for completion in Japan?

INFOGRAPHIC: Nissan Group of North America Reports 1 Million U.S. Exports

INFOGRAPHIC: Nissan Group of North America Reports 1 Million U.S. Exports

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13 Comments on "U.S.-Built Nissan LEAF Is Shipped To Canada, Mexico, Korea and… Japan"

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The graph shows only 30 total vehicles exported to Japan in CY14, so the amount of Leaf’s going to Japan is pretty small.

Likely just for internal quality tests.

Has anyone ever seen, that the factory makes wrong side driving Leaf’s?

That’s probably why they need 30 imported to Japan, so that they learn how to build some for driving on the right side. 🙂

I’m guessing their factory is set up something like this.

Still, I’m glad to see an American product being produced here and sold overseas (even if the parent company is foreign)

Probably a few reasons for this:

1. Wages in US are depressed enough to compete with foreign labor.

2. US labor more productive than in many other countries.

3. Lots of US subsidies for the Tennessee Plant. Setting up another someplace else, not as cost effective for current sales volumes. Also: Leaf 1.5 is nearing EOL cycle.

4. Cost of global shipping has dropped with the price of oil.

5. Needed volumes for Leaf 2.0 unknown at this time. More localized production could be established after demonstrated demand.

*shrugs*

Still eagerly awaiting Leaf 2.0 info…

Exchange rates

Exchange rates don’t really change car economics between japan and the US. Electricity is more expensive in Japan as is labor. Raw materials like steel and lithium don’t care the country.

Still it is hard to believe costs in the US are low enough to absorb the cost of transportation to Japan. My guess is numbers are low going between the countries. Exporting from US to Korea makes total sense though.

I work for a worldwide Japanese corporation. There are many places that can make the same equipment. When an order comes in, they look at the exchange rates to decide who makes it, also factoring the shipping costs.

Peak electric costs in Japan are above forty cents a kilowatt-hour. Energy from the Tennessee Valley Authority is among the cheapest rates in the country. Also, domestic Lithium production is coming online.

“What’s even more interesting is that Nissan revealed that U.S.-built LEAF is exported not only to Canada, Mexico and Korea, but also to Japan.”

The infographic also shows exports to LEAF exports (green) to “Latin America and the Caribbean”. Puerto Rico was one island nation announced this last summer.

Does that say 30 vehicles for eight different models? I would have to guess they are just for Nissan use and testing and this therefore is not news.

Ditto! 8 Cars, 30 units only = ~ 3.75 per car! So they shipped out 3-4 cars on average, per each of the 8 models: Altima, Frontier, LEAF, Pathfinder, Pathfinder HEV, Rogue, Infiniti QX60, Infinity QX60 HEV!

But – if they only ship 1 each of the other 7, that still only leaves 23 LEAF’s; more likely they shipped a few extra of the HEV’s/EV’s, and a few less of the ICE Versions!

Maybe Like 5 each x 3 [EV/HEV] (=15) + 3 each X 5 [ICE] (=15) = 30!