Published June 18, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
Nissan Leafs may have been off to slower than hoped for sales this year, but their maker says it still expects delivery of 20,000 North America units before the end of its fiscal year next March.
The company has blamed a staged roll-out from an initial seven states, and more recently supply shortages of the Japanese-made all-electric vehicle in some regions, but when its Smyrna, Tenn. plant starts producing them in December, Nissan’s Bill Krueger said it will be in position to catch up fast.
“We’ve had to fulfill demand from one plant globally,” said Krueger in an interview with Bloomberg at the B-20 business summit Saturday in Los Cabos, Mexico. “Once we localize it in December, the second half of the fiscal year is when we’ll see most of the supply, demand be available.”
Last month, Nissan picked up sales to 510 units, but the plug-in vehicle – that was launched at the end of 2010 when the Chevy Volt was – looked like an also-ran with less than one-third the Volt’s 1,680 units sold. It also did not hold a candle to the new plug-in Prius, which was only launched in March and sold 1,086 units in May.
As has been reported before, CEO Carlos Ghosn has all but bet the farm on electric vehicles, projects 10-percent market share for EVs by 2020. The company is not measuring Leaf sales progress by an apparently disappointing month here or there, and continues to forecast success for its electrified models in months and years ahead, starting with a solid 20,000 this year.