The new Nissan Leaf will be restyled to be more attractive to European buyers (and not only), and most probably will hit the market in 2014.
Automotive News Europe reports that the actual Leaf has been described as looking bland and awkward by critics in Europe, with sales to the market only reaching 1728 units in 2011. However, this is partly due to its limited availability outside of regions offering EV incentives, as well as the car’s high price.
For example in UK the actual Leaf starts at 25,990 pounds (about $41,600) including a 5000-pound government electric vehicle grant.
But Nissan’s Colin Lawther, vice president of Nissan engineering in Europe said that the Japanese automaker will start building the LEAF in Sunderland, England starting February – which will help cut costs instead of importing it from England.
“Making it in the UK will take about a third of the cost of the car out.”
In addition, Nissan will start making Leaf Electric vehicles at its Smyrna, Tennessee, plant in the US at the end of 2012. The only significant part still to be imported from Japan will be the Leaf’s electric motor, however Nissan is looking into having these built in the UK too.
Besides being more affordable, the model will have an increased range and a retuned power delivery system for smoother acceleration.
The car is currently built at Nissan’s plant in Oppama, Japan, and is exported to other markets.