Nissan Unable to Meet Leaf Demand; Delays to Continue

The Nissan Leaf is the first mass-market electric vehicle available for purchase. The only problem is that so far, delivery is taking a lot longer than expected, and it isn’t expected to get better any time soon.

Through January, Nissan managed to deliver just over 1,100 cars, and 981 of those were to customers in Japan. With 27,000 pre-orders to fill worldwide, Nissan hopes to increase production of the Leaf to 4,000 vehicles per-month and deliver 10,000 Leaf electric vehicles by the end of their fiscal year, March 31st. That means they will have to build about 4,500 of these vehicles in the next two months, and to fill the remaining 17,000 pre-orders will take another four months. Nissan doesn’t intend to start taking orders for the Leaf until it “delivers enough volume to the first lot,” and that is commendable. However, that means new orders might not open up until the summer, and by then the Chevy Volt could hit its stride. That also means the Ford Focus Electric will be even closer to production, and something tells me that the Blue Oval doesn’t intend to have the same supply blockages hurting the Leaf.

I like Nissan a lot actually; they’re probably my favorite Japanese manufacturer, and they’ve built some of the best, most affordable rear-wheel drive sports cars on the planet (I had a 240sx that I absolutely loved, and the damn thing didn’t die until well past 200,000 miles.) That said, I think Nissan is doing the electric car crowd a real disservice here. They knew how many pre-orders for this vehicle they had to fill, and in a rush to get it to market before the end of 2010 they’ve left a lot of people wondering when they will get their Leaf.

It’s not a good way to do business in my eyes, and I’m sure Nissan would agree. They’ve got two auto plants lined up to help fill the volume expected of the Leaf, one in the U.K. and the other in Tennessee, and the Japanese plant is expected to have an annual volume of 50,000 units when it is fully operational. I just think Nissan should have delayed the Leaf launch until they were ready, instead of competing for attention with the Chevy Volt. The Volt did not have the massive pre-orders of the Leaf, but so far the “more car than electric” Volt has handily outsold the Leaf in America.

Do you think Nissan should have delayed the Leaf launch, or are you as excited as ever about getting your little EV?

Source: Automotive News

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.

 

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.