Correction: It looks like BusinessWeek was wrong. A representative from Nissan contacted us and 56,000 is not the number of pre-orders, but rather the number of people who have signed up on their website for more information about the LEAF once it is released. Incidentally, that number is now 71,000, and while it is a good sign for Nissan, it means a lot less for the future commercial success of the LEAF than actual pre-orders would.
And That's Just for the United States...
Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan and Renault, isn't the kind of guy who just dips his toe in the water. He jumps straight in. That's what he's doing with the Nissan LEAF; his goal is to take Nissan from basically a laggard when it comes to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars, to a leader. At the Geneva Auto Show, Mr. Ghosn said that he currently had "no competition" and that he already had 56,000 preorders just from the U.S., and public orders aren't even open in Japan and Europe.
Nissan also expects substantial orders from fleet operators (taxis, government). The French government has already said that it wants 100,000 of its vehicles to be electric.
Business Week reports:
"Frankly, I mean so far there is no competition," Ghosn told a group of reporters at the Geneva Auto Show Wednesday. "Let's be serious. It's not because someone is coming with a prototype and one car that this is competition. The question is how much capacity are you building."
As a result, Nissan will be the only player able to respond to demand on any scale, he said, saying the numbers planned by Mitsubishi are much smaller.
"What I am sure is that in 2011, I am going to be the only one on the market," Ghosn said.
He's referring to Mitsubishi's i MiEV, a car that is similar to the LEAF when you look at the specs, but only a few tens of thousands of units will be made in the first few years (though Mitsubishi has been ramping up production lately).
A lot will depend on the price of the LEAF and how effective Nissan is at marketing it. Success will also depend on external factors, such as the price of oil and the deployment of electric charging stations in public parking lots, at workplaces, along highways, etc.
Via Business Week
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