It is no secret that Nissan has been disappointed with sales of the Nissan Leaf EV, falling well short of executive expectations. This has lead Nissan in recent weeks to pull back and re-evaluate their electric vehicle sales plan, as well as leading some executives to admit that their U.S. strategy was “…a little bit arrogant.”
The arrogance has to do with Nissan’s bold 50-state rollout plan, which the Japanese automaker expected to lead to increasing sales across the U.S. Initially, Nissan rolled out the Leaf to EV-friendly areas of the country like Hawaii, California, and the Pacific Northwest. By fall of 2011 though, the Leaf was for sale in every state, regardless of infrastructure or interest.
This has led to less-than-hoped-for sales, with Nissan executives expressing disappointment that their mass market EV hasn’t had the market penetration they hoped for. Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn had predicted sales of 20,000 Leafs this year, though Nissan hasn’t even hit half of that number yet.
The problem stems from the assumption that there were people in every state eagerly awaiting the arrival of electric vehicles. As it turns out, the initial wave of early adopters gave way to a more tepid response. Stabilizing gas prices and a series of plug-in car debacles probably haven’t helped matters.
But Nissan seems committed to the Leaf EV, pledging a new strategy going forward. With their new Tennessee factory capable of producing 150,000 Leaf EVs and batteries annually, the Japanese automaker doesn’t really have much choice in the matter. The question is, are buyers willing to commit?
Source: Automotive News