Spokespersons for Nissan are confident that sales for their all-electric Leaf will trend upward once the automaker begins to produce the cars on U.S. soil, at its Tennessee facility. Right now, Leaf cars that are sold in the American market are produced in Japan. Because of the impending switch, the company is aiming for a sales target of 20,000 Leaf electric cars to be sold in the U.S. this year. Nissan’s factory in Nashville will, after the current upgrade is finished, be able to make Leaf automobiles as well as battery packs. So far, American buyers have snapped up just over 2,100 of the cars this year, which means that Nissan’s sales plans are quite optimistic.
Having to transport the cars from Japan to the U.S., and having their production costs originally denominated in yen rather than in dollars, has been a burden on marketing efforts. In fact, one company spokesperson said that Nissan has provided virtually no marketing or sales backup for Leaf in the American market. The new Tennessee factory will be able to crank out 150,000 Leafs per year. That means that U.S. consumers will soon have a decent selection of electric cars to choose from, including Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, the Honda Fit EV, Ford Focus Electric, and the Leaf, not to mention another entire lineup of hybrid-electric cars, which are also de facto competitors of pure-electrics.
A little-known fact about the Leaf is this: It is one of the best selling cars in Norway, a nation that has embraced the alternative fuel culture with open arms. Though it is extremely small in terms of population and economic comparisons with the U.S., Norwegians purchase almost as many Nissan Leaf electric cars as Americans do. In just the first half of 2012, Nissan reports over 1,000 unit sales for Leaf in Norway!
For more about one of the most famous electric cars in the world, see Nissan’s official corporate website for the Leaf: