With the LEAF selling over 2,000 units a month – quadruple its year-ago sales – Nissan’s factory in Smyrna, Tennessee is ramping up production. But it’s not fast enough to meet the demand from dealers, Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and marketing, told Automotive News.
“We’re going to be short on inventory all through the summer,” Gottfried said. “It will be late fall before we can produce enough to satisfy everybody. I assured [dealers] that we’re doing everything we can to get them more inventory. But it’s taking some time.”
One new challenge is that the LEAF’s geographic appeal has widened. For the past two years, most of the LEAFs were settling in green West Coast cities like San Francisco and Seattle, but the electric hatchback is steadily catching on around the country, Gottfried says. A year ago, California accounted for 37 percent of US sales – that’s now down to 27 percent.
“Not every dealer has pursued selling the LEAF yet,” Gottfried says. “But what we’ve seen lately is that one dealer in a city will start marketing the car and have great success with it. Then the other dealers in the market will realize there’s a real opportunity and start marketing it, too.”
Nissan plans to install over 100 public DC quick chargers at LEAF dealerships in 21 US markets.