Nissan Aims at Sales of 20,000 Leaf EVs in the US image

Nissan will double the US sales of the Leaf EV to 20,000 units by the end of the year, beginning production of the model in the US in December.

Currently the Leaf EV is manufactured at a single plant in Japan from where it is exported worldwide. Beginning February 2013 Nissan plans to begin production at its plant in Sunderland, England, for the European market. The facility from Smyrna, Tennessee will begin production this December, boosting supply before the fiscal year ends in March 2013.

In the last two months, sales of this model have dropped in the US, against Toyota’s plug-in Prius in May and General Motors’ rechargeable Chevrolet Volt. If Volt’s sales more than tripled in May to 1,680 units, the Leaf sales dropped 55% to 510.

“We’ve had to fulfill demand from one plant globally,” said Bill Krueger, the vice chairman of the carmaker’s U.S. unit. “Once we localize it in December, the second half of the fiscal year is when we’ll see most of the supply, demand be available.”

The three largest car makers in Japan are already manufacturing vehicles in North America which will set new records by the end of this year. For example Nissan sold 1.18 million units in the US in 2011, aiming at 1.35 million by the end of 2012.