Nissan to double Leaf sales in U.S. in 2012 image

Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn, on Monday said the Japanese automaker plans to double sales of its Nissan Leaf electric car to at least 20,000 this year.

Nissan sold 9,674 Leafs last year, but the car was initially available in only seven states.
It’s now available in 30 states. It will be available in all 50 states before the end of 2012, Ghosn said.

In addition the executive says improved inventory will also boost sales. The company now makes the Leaf in Japan, but plans to start building Leafs in the Tennessee later this year.

The choke point is the battery,” he said. If Nissan could buy or build more of the battery packs that fuel Leaf, it could make more and, presumably, sell more.

However, in 2012, it plans to open a manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, that will be able to turn out 200,000 battery packs—and 150,000 cars—a year.
The battery factory is about built, and the company will be adding the needed equipment to make the batteries, Steve Miller, a Nissan tax manager who works at the company’s American headquarters in Franklin said.

By 2013, the Smyrna factory will start producing the Rogue, which is a cross between an SUV and a sedan.