Nissan wants to increase U.S. Leaf production image

Once a slow selling model, Leaf is now asked by North American dealers in larger numbers, so Nissan is considering boosting the factory output of its electric vehicle.

The automaker’s North American factory chief cautions that production will move ahead in small and careful steps, but Nissan is already taking measures to increase its output of electric motors from its engine factory in Decherd, Tennessee, says Bill Krueger, Nissan Americas vice chairman and senior vice president.

Krueger, speaking today on the sidelines of the 2013 CAR Management Briefing Seminars here, said the company also would decide next month whether to add a second shift to its production of lithium-ion battery modules for the car. All the while, Decherd is now staffing up to launch a third work shift that will give Nissan a third more electric motors starting this fall.

Ever since the car has moved into US production retailers have been selling the Leaf in good numbers – around 2000 a month – which is three to four times better than a year ago. Through July, Nissan sold 11,703 Leafs in the United States – a 230% increase over the 3,543 units sold during the seven months last year. The company sold 1,864 of the cars in July, compared to 395 during July 2012.