After high demand and buoyant sales figures for its all-electric Nissan LEAF hatchback, Nissan will double U.S. its production figures for 2014.
That’s according to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who confirmed this week that Nissan is to double LEAF production for the year after racking up a 22,610 LEAF sales total for the U.S. alone during 2013. December 2013, which coincided with the start of the LEAF’s third year of sales, proved Nissan’s most popular month yet for the all-electric family car, with 2,529 LEAFs being sold.
“We are now on a trend of 3,000 cars a month in the U.S., which is about 36,000 cars a year,” Ghosn told CNBC in an interview. “The next step is moving up to 4,000 a month, which is going to be approximately 50,000,” although he didn’t set a target date for this figure to be achieved.
As Automotive News reports, production at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee factory has slowly and cautiously been ramped up during the latter part of 2013. But as GreenCarReports is careful to note, any production hikes take several months to come to fruition due to the complexities of Nissan’s supply chain, and thus the effects have yet to be felt on dealer lots.
Even though Nissan makes its own motors and battery packs for the LEAF, it still has to source raw supplies from all over the world. While that’s sometimes possible using local suppliers — as is the case for the copper wire used to make the LEAF’s motor — some parts, like the electrodes used in the LEAF’s battery pack, have to be shipped from Japan.
And that means they have to be ordered, produced, and shipped before Nissan can ramp up production at any of its three LEAF factories around the world.
There’s no word if Nissan’s other two factories — in Sunderland, England and Oppama, Japan — will also increase their production due to increased global LEAF demand, but we’d guess Nissan is keen to do whatever it takes to keep dealer supplies healthy.
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