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Nissan Leaf  (Source:
It will produce the Leaf in Tennessee starting Thursday

Nissan didn't manage to meet its goals for 2012, but the auto company is looking forward to a better 2013 by starting Leaf production in the United States.

Nissan announced that it will begin Leaf production at a new plant in Smyrna, Tennessee this Thursday. It will build the Leaf and gasoline vehicles in this plant, while building batteries at a separate plant next door.

The plant is the result of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan for $1.4 billion in 2010. According to the DOE, Nissan can build up to 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 batteries annually at the Tennessee plants.

Nissan added that the new plants have created over 300 manufacturing jobs. In 2010, the DOE expected that both projects would create about 1,300 jobs. Nissan said the number of jobs is expected to increase over time.

Nissan's Leaf had a tough time last year as far as sales and performance goes. In July 2012, Leaf owners in Arizona complained that their EVs were losing significant battery capacity in the desert's hot heat. Nissan responded by basically saying that this was normal, and promised more open communication with owners of the Leaf EV.

Later, Nissan had to admit that it wasn't going to hit its sales mark for 2012, which was 20,000 Leafs. However, it only sold 9,819 Leafs for the whole year -- less than half of its goal, and only 1.5 percent higher than the number it sold in 2011.

Nissan had even more ambitious goals back in 2010 when it announced that it would sell 500,000 EVs per year by the end of 2013. However, in October 2012, Nissan saw the reality of its sales and adjusted that number to 1.5 million EVs sold cumulatively by 2016.

Source: The Detroit News

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By Creig on 1/10/2013 9:44:43 AM , Rating: 2
According to the DOE, Nissan can build up to 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 batteries annually at the Tennessee plants.

only sold 9,819 Leafs for the whole year (2012)

So the U.S. gov't gave Nissan a 1.4 BILLION dollar loan to construct a plant that can produce 150,000 Leafs (Leaves?) a year and yet Nissan only sold 10,000 Leaves (Leafs?) in 2012.

So in effect, they could run full production for one year, then close down the plant for the next 14 years.

How does this even remotely make sense?

By RamarC on 1/10/2013 10:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
It will build the Leaf and gasoline vehicles in this plant

And don't forget the employees who work at that facility and the economic benefits these jobs will bring to the surrounding towns.

By johnsmith9875 on 1/10/2013 3:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
The government gave 2 billion to GM to produce the EV-1. Despite its popularity GM sandbagged the car with restrictive leasing agreements, intentionally flawed batteries and fake supply shortages.

At least Nissan is being honest about actually wanting to sell cars this time.

By Mint on 1/11/2013 12:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's a loan that they can't welsh out of without going bankrupt. No way in hell would a healthy company like Nissan take that on without having belief in its future.

It doesn't have that much capacity yet, obviously, and sales will go up, especially as prices go down and new models arrive.

By toffty on 1/11/2013 3:07:58 PM , Rating: 2
Derp... Export... Derp...

Currently there is only one plant in Japan that's making Leafs and supplying the world.

The US is not the only country that buys cars... It's ok, I know that's hard to beleieve; but it's true.

Also the plant can build other cars alongside the Leafs so not only Leafs will be built there, it's just the upper limit.

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