Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nissan Cannot Meet Demand for New Leaf EV, Production Shortages to Last Longer than Expected

It has been known for a while now that Nissan is struggling with the Leaf’s slow rollout. The demand for the all-electric vehicle is so high that the Japanese maker has been forced to stop receiving new orders and concentrate on filling existing ones. However, projected production figures show that the company will only assemble 10,000 units until March 31, while it has already received 27,000 orders from the U.S., Japan and Europe.

The remaining 17,000 orders are likely to be filled in the next fiscal year starting April 1, during which Nissan will reach the maximum production capacity of 50,000 units at the Oppama plant in Japan.

Consequently, the automaker could take 33,000 more orders in the next fiscal year, but it hasn’t decided yet when it will do so. According to Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan wants to “deliver enough volume to the first lot” before giving new orders the green light.

One solution would be the opening of new assembly lines sooner than initially planned, but Shiga ruled out the possibility due to the fact that work has just started on the factory that would provide the additional lithium-ion battery packs needed.

That means Nissan's UK factory will begin producing Leafs in 2012, followed by the Tennessee plant in 2013, so the shortage could last longer than expected.

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