U.S. Nissan LEAF Production Halted Due to March 11 Earthquake in Japan
Nissan was planning on producing the popular electric LEAF in the U.S. starting as early as December 2012. Manufacturing of the vehicles battery was to start in the U.S. in September 2012. Although this is a significant amount of time from now the March 11 earthquake that devastated areas of Japan affected Nissan more than anyone originally thought.
"On March 11 every operation stopped, so all the resources that were in place [to begin manufacturing the LEAF in the U.S.] were used to restore Japan," shares Hideaki Watanabe, Head, Global Zero Emission Vehicle Business Unit, Nissan. "All the milestones and studies to localize production in the United States were stopped."1
It does not, then, come as a huge surprise that Nissan may be forced to delay U.S. production of the LEAF. While no one is happy to hear it and Watanabe is certainly doesn't like to say it, he concedes, "The earthquake is putting us in a very difficult situation. But, we are not giving up yet. Is there still potential for delay? There may be. We are assessing [that] right now."2 He does not, however, venture a public guess at how long such a delay might be.
Looking forward, Nissan plans to produce 15,000 LEAFs annually, at their Smyrna, TN plant. Over the next couple of years, however, Nissan will continue to import the award-winning EV from overseas. Residents in the states of California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Tennessee, Hawaii, and Texas will be invited to place orders, starting this summer... Drivers in the remaining 50 states, by the time production commences in Tennessee.
To learn more about the Nissan LEAF, call Royal Nissan at (225) 924-0400 today. Or visit us in person at 9325 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70815. We're happy to share complete specs and eventually...schedule test drives.