Nissan LEAF sales sluggish in May

by Ernie Hernandez on June 2, 2012

Red front three quarters view

LEAF sales total 510 in May

Nissan possibly could have thought things through just a bit more.

With the Nissan LEAF being available in North America (United States and Canada), Europe, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and China in addition to its home market of Japan with only 50,000 being produced each year, that is what some might call spreading yourself thin.

At last count on Wikipedia, the Nissan LEAF is available in 19 countries. 50,000 cars (total annual production capability out of the Oppama, Japan plant) divided by 12 months divided by 19 countries comes out to roughly 219 cars per country per month. Now, granted, they may not sell 219 every month in Estonia, but we think that Nissan could easily sell twice that number in the US of A. Oh… they just about did last month. Some months, the LEAF US sales numbers broke over 1,000. Also, we tend to think that Japan may be receiving most favored nation status as that is the country that is actually producing them at the moment. It is cheaper to sell them locally than pay freight half way ’round the world. Our suspicion is that Nissan is sending more cars to new markets to satisfy initial demand as well as taking care of their own. That is sound business sense. Underproducing on a global scale? Not so much.

Later this year battery production and vehicle production of the LEAF will begin in Smyrna, Tennessee. While Oppama can churn out 50,000 per year, Smyrna will be able to make up to 150,000 per year. Not that they will produce at anything close to that rate for at least the first six months or so, perhaps longer, but ultimately they will. Next year, LEAF production will begin in Sunderland, UK. With all of these plants on line, look for LEAF sales numbers to ramp up as the vehicle will no longer be in a supply constrained environment. That is when we can truly see what the real demand looks like.

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