Nissan expects Leaf sales to double after opening American plant

2012 Nissan Leaf (front view)

In brief: Nissan plans to go live with it's new American production facility for the electric Leaf later this year and says sales will grow quickly after that.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: 2012 Leaf
Manufacturer: Nissan

The word

Sales of the all-electric Nissan Leaf have been quiet so far this year, with just over 2,600 units moving so far. A fact that Chevrolet has made light of as, by comparison, the Volt has been selling like hotcakes. The difference? Nissan expected sales to be relatively slow upon release of the Leaf.

In fact, vehicles being delivered now are actually pre-sold from a program began in 2010 when Nissan first introduced the Leaf as a production model. So buyers who are looking for a Leaf can't get one at a dealership, they can only get on a waiting list for delivery.

That will change starting early in 2013 as the Leaf begins production in the U.S. Nissan plans to open its Smyrna, Tennessee plant to Leaf production by December and begin delivering cars a month or so later. Both the assembly plant and the nearby battery plant are capable of 150,000 units per year (the assembly plant can actually do up to 200,000), so fulfilling orders and getting Leaf units into dealerships will finally become reality.

And so ...

Expect the Leaf to begin selling in quantity next year, but with competitors like the strong offering Ford has in the Focus Electric and planned upgrades coming to the Volt for 2013, they will have their work cut out for them.

Photo credits: Nissan North America

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