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Nissan Leaf  (Source: nissanusa.com)
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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