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Nissan Leaf In Demand

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On: Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 5:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf In Demand

The first mass market electric vehicle of the modern era has built itself a loyal following. The once slow-selling Nissan Leaf is now in hot demand and Nissan says that it will be in short supply throughout the summer. The world may not be fully ready to embrace electric cars, but Nissan isn't having a problem finding the Leaf's niche.

Nissan sold 9,839 Leafs in the first half of 2013, which represents more than it sold in all of 2012. The 2,225 Leaf models that it sold last month represents four times the number it was selling just a year ago, according to Automotive News. Earlier this year, after a 423-percent year-over-year increase in April sales, the Nissan Leaf hit the 25,000-sale mark in the U.S. market.

Not only is the Leaf performing much healthier than a year ago, it appears to be outpacing Nissan's best expectations. The Japanese manufacturer is having trouble ramping up production at its Smyrna, Tenn. plant to the point where it can effectively meet Leaf demand.

"We're going to be short on inventory all through the summer," Erik Gottfried, Nissan's director of electric vehicle sales and marketing, told Auto News. "It will be late fall before we can produce enough to satisfy everybody."

Originally Leaf demand was concentrated in West Coast cities like Seattle and San Francisco, but it's now spread around the country to places like Raleigh, NC, Dallas, and St. Louis, helping to fuel the increased sales. The price reduction on the 2013 Leaf has also helped increase its appeal with buyers.

Nissan recently announced its intentions to install 100 new quick-charging stations at LEAF-certified dealers in 21 key markets around the U.S. The chargers can recharge the Leaf's battery to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. A broader charging infrastructure should only help improve the Leaf's appeal.

Brendan Jones, director of Nisson's electric vehicle infrastructure strategy said at the time, "Nissan is undertaking a proactive, multi-pronged approach to expand charging infrastructure to enhance awareness of electric cars like the LEAF and instill range confidence in potential customers. We know that available charging infrastructure opens the doors for more Nissan LEAF sales."


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