As with all new products, analysts are quick to analyze its success after its first year of sales. When Nissan reported that its Leaf electric vehicle sales tallied 9,674 units last year, industry analysts claimed that the poor sales number proved that a market does not exist for electric propulsion.
CEO Carlos Ghosn saw differently, and explained, “The only reason we couldn’t sell more is because we couldn’t build more. We’re expecting in 2012 to double that number.”
Furthermore, the initial release of the Leaf was small and only seven initial launch markets were available for early adopters in 2011. For 2012, availability of the Nissan Leaf will expand to all 50 states. Ghosn added that he believed there are, “pent-up demand for electric cars which is today not being recognized.”
Confident of the future of alternative energy, Renault-Nissan have planned to boost annual production capacity of electric vehicles to 400,000 units by 2015. A significant portion of said cars will be assembled in the Smyrna, Tennessee, plant.
Finally, Ghosn expressed optimism for 2012 overall, noting that Nissan has prepared the launch of several important products, starting with the Pathfinder at the Detroit Auto Show as well as updates for the Sentra and Altima sedans. Quite boldly, Ghosn claimed, “We think the next Altima will be a strong contender competing for the number-one spot.”
Renault-Nissan’s joint venture with Mercedes-Benz looks to be a mutually beneficial alliance as well. Nissan’s Tennessee plant will be responsible for building the German 4-cylinder engines, which will find its way underneath both Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti products starting 2014.
GALLERY: Nissan Leaf
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]