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In-demand Leaf prompts Nissan to reduce the number of dealer demos


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In-demand Leaf prompts Nissan to reduce the number of dealer demos

By AUTOMOTIVE NEWS on 11/18/2010

Sales of the Nissan Leaf electric car begin in December.

Nissan's U.S. dealers will each give up one of their electric Leaf demo cars as the factory tries to satisfy initial demand for the car.

Dealers had been promised two Leafs each. Instead, they will now receive only one in a bid to free up more cars for sales, Nissan Division Vice President Al Castignetti said Wednesday during the Los Angeles auto show.

The sacrifice could mean as many as 1,000 extra Leafs going to consumers when the car goes on sale next month.

Nissan has marketed the Leaf through an Internet program in which consumers were asked to make a reservation for the car and make a $99 refundable deposit.

Because of high demand, Nissan's sales limit for the car was reached three months early, prompting the company to stop taking reservations.

Nissan will only receive 20,000 Leafs for U.S. sales in the first year. Production volume is limited by a new Japanese assembly line, and a new plant that is supplying the Leaf's lithium-ion battery.

Castignetti said the company is proceeding cautiously as the battery plant ramps up.

“We are being very cautious about over-promising anything,” he said, speaking privately during the Los Angeles auto show.

He said that the Leaf's December sales launch remains on schedule.

Nissan is simultaneously investing $1.6 billion to construct another lithium-ion battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn., where it will also assemble the Leaf. But that supply will not come on line until late in 2012.

That project will produce 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 battery packs annually.

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20101118/GREEN/101119859#ixzz15h7nVAEB

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Report: Nissan Leaf demand forces dealers to give up demo cars

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Nov 19th 2010 at 2:28PM


2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan may have underestimated the demand for its all-electric 2011 Leaf. The company had originally planned to supply its dealers with two demo cars each, but with buyers essentially beating down doors to be among the first to hop behind the wheel, Nissan has decided to cut that number by half in order to free up supplies. That may mean as many as 1,000 additional Leaf EVs will be in stock when the car goes on sale in December. Nissan USA has only been given a total of 20,000 Leaf vehicles for sale on our shores in 2011, and the company hit that many reservations months ago.

Why so few? The real hang up is having enough batteries to go around. While Nissan is working closely with its supplier in Japan, the company is also building a new battery facility in Smyrna, Tennessee that should help crank out 200,000 battery packs per year when it goes online in 2012. At that point, Nissan says that it should be able to produce somewhere around 150,000 Leaf units per year.



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