Nissan Diverts 2/3 of Electric LEAFs from U.S. to Japan

nissan leaf electric car red photo

Photo: Nissan
Only 3,300 LEAFs in U.S. Until March 2011
One of the things that makes the Nissan LEAF electric car so promising is that Nissan was aiming for mass-production from the very beginning (f.ex. The Smyrna plant is expected to produce up to 150,000 vehicles annually, and there are other high-capacity Nissan EV plants in Oppama, Japan and Sunderland, England). Other car makers are no doubt thinking about big numbers for their upcoming EVs, but so far they've been more timid... In any case, it looks like would-be buyers of the LEAF in the United States will have to be patient, because the initial shipment of LEAFs has been slashed by 2/3. Read on for more details.
nissan leaf electric car red photo

Photo: Nissan

Nissan held a dealership conference recently, and no doubt informed its dealers of what they should expect about they LEAF in the near future. One of those dealers, Leon Kamins, general manager of Mossy Nissan of Kearny Mesa and Poway, posted this on a LEAF discussion forum:

By the end of March of 2011, there will have been roughly only 3,300 Leafs delivered nationwide. Nissan initially wanted a lot more (10,000), but decided to launch in Japan in January, which diverted two thirds of the cars. So, of the 3,300, Nissan is parsing them out at a few hundred a month over the 4 months (December through the end of March). They are launching the car first in San Diego, Portand, Nashville, Houston, Tuson-Phoenix corridor because this is where the infrastructure will be. (source)

It's not too surprising that Nissan would want to have more cars available for the Japanese market. In that country, hybrids are best-sellers and the government incentives for HEVs and EVs are very generous. On top of that, the first batch of LEAFs will be made in Japan.

But 3,300 LEAFs for the whole U.S. until the end of March 2011 isn't much. People interested in buying a Nissan EV better act quickly as soon it goes on sale in December. Remember though that this info isn't confirmed by Nissan HQ yet.

Via Autoblog Green
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