Nissan Works on Leaf Range Concerns, Expects Sales to Rise

Amid sales uncertainty, Nissan has doubled down on its all-electric Leaf. The automaker brought production stateside for the 2013 model, which sheltered it from currency fluctuations that played havoc with pricing for Japan-imported 2011 and 2012 Leafs. Nissan introduced a new base model — the Leaf S — and lowered the starting price by $6,400. And it plans to do more, including address concerns over the Leaf’s range predictions.

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Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had plenty to say about the Leaf, which has sold fewer than 10,000 cars a year in the U.S. since its debut. Nissan originally targeted 20,000 annual sales.

“Some of the reasons [for the sales malaise] are due to us and we are correcting them, but some of the reasons are beyond our power and we are lobbying to correct them,” Ghosn said at this week’s 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He spoke at a media roundtable.

The 59-year-old CEO admitted that Nissan is working on the Leaf’s often inaccurate range predictions — something we experienced in our long-term car. A software update improved the accuracy, but Ghosn said Nissan still wants to fine-tune the predictions.

“We know that some consumers have some concern over the vision [sic] of the mileage that is left over,” he said. “We are working on it.”

In the meantime, the updates and price drop for 2013 should help Leaf sales to the tune of “at least 20%,” Ghosn said. Will it? We’ll have to wait and see. The 2013 Leaf goes on sale in February.

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