Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Admits Leaf EV will Fall Way Short of its 2012 Sales Target

Last March, during the New York Auto Show, Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, told reporters that Nissan’s all-electric Leaf compact would double its 2011 sales this year.

Given that the Japanese carmaker shifted 9,679 units in 2011, the target was around 20,000 units for 2012. “We’re not worried about it”, said Ghosn. “I feel very good about this objective.”

In October, the Leaf sold 1,579 units, an increase of 86 percent compared to the same month last year. This was also its best month in 2012. Ghosn was right about feeling good, right?

Actually, no: this year Nissan has shifted a total of 6,791 Leafs; that’s 15.6 percent less than the 9,679 units it has sold the same period in 2011! So much about doubling the EVs’ sales, then…

While talking to Bloomberg Television in Mexico City, Ghosn acknowledged hat “the forecast we have given ourselves for the year will not be reached”.

A day later, Nissan cancelled the grand opening ceremony it had scheduled for building a battery plant and upgrading a Leaf factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, for which it has received US$1.4 billion in loans from the U.S. Energy Department.

Ghosn is a firm believer in electric vehicles and, as a result, Nissan and Renault have invested US$5.6 billion in their development in the past few years.

The charismatic CEO predicted in November 2010, that the alliance would sell 500,000 EVs annually by the end of 2013. Now, in a video posted last month, the company said that it is “committed” to sell 1.5 million electric vehicles “cumulatively” by 2016. Whether it will reach its goal, is another story…

For now, Nissan has presented an updated version of the Leaf for the 2013 model year, more details on which you can find here.

By Andrew Tsaousis

Story References: Detroit News

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