Nissan Leaf's big price drop: Is it enough to rev up sales?
We told you last week that Nissan's all-electric Leaf suffered anemic sales in 2012. Now comes word from the auto show in Detroit that Nissan is cutting more than $6,000 off the price of its new base model 2013 Leaf. With various tax incentives, that could put the car in the $18,000 to $19,000 range for some folks, Nissan says.
And according to a press release (which you can read on page 2), that would make the new Leaf S - with a MSRP of $28,800 -- the lowest-priced, five-passenger EV sold in the U.S.
The new Leafs will be assembled at Nissan's new plant in Smyrna, Tennessee rather than in Japan where earlier models have been produced.
But is price and a made-in-the-USA sticker enough to perk up sluggish sales?
A New York Times report has Nissan exec Carlos Ghosn acknowledging that consumer concerns about EV range and the ability to recharge EVs quickly were in part responsible for the 2012 sales slump. With the 2013 model, which will be available in February, the company says they have tried to address those concerns. With aerodynamic improvements the expectation is the new model should have a longer driving range than the 2012.
Nissan Brings New, U.S.-Assembled 2013 LEAF to Market with Major Price Reduction
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Nissan has announced that U.S. pricing for the new 2013 Nissan LEAF will start at an MSRP of $28,800 for the newly-added S grade, making it the lowest priced five-passenger electric vehicle sold in the United States. Depending on location, some consumers may purchase the vehicle for as low as $18,800 with qualifying federal and state tax credits, putting the LEAF on par with gas-powered vehicles of its size.
Nissan's objective for the LEAF has always been to produce an affordable zero-emission vehicle for the mass market, and the 2013 LEAF is a prime example of that commitment with increased value at every trim level, making it more accessible for more people.
"With nearly 50,000 LEAFs on the road globally, we are the leaders in zero emissions vehicles and our class-leading product just got better," said Billy Hayes, Global vice president of LEAF sales for Nissan. "From the very outset, Nissan has continuously advanced and refined the affordable zero emissions vehicle ownership experience. Now customers won't have to pay a premium for owning a green car that's really fun to drive, and that's exciting."
Nissan recently began U.S. assembly of the 2013 Nissan LEAF at its manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tenn., a localization initiative that further drives efficiencies by leveraging already-existing equipment and processes while also reducing exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency. The battery packs that power LEAF are built in an adjacent facility in Smyrna while the vehicle's electric motor comes from Nissan's powertrain plant in Decherd, Tenn., further supporting efficient manufacturing.
Eligible consumers can take advantage of a $7,500 federal tax credit, and some states and municipalities offer additional incentives. For example, California residents can get a 2013 Nissan LEAF for as low as $18,800 after the federal tax credit and state rebate of $2,500.
Nissan will also continue its lease offer for the 2013 LEAF, allowing consumers to lease the electric vehicle for as low as $199 per month for 36 months, which includes tax credits and destination charges.
Additions to the 2013 LEAF include: 17-inch alloy wheels and leather appointed interior on SL models, available Around ViewÂ® Monitor and 7-speaker BoseÂ® energy efficient audio system and a 6.6 kW onboard charger that significantly reduces 220V charging times and is standard on SV and SL models.
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices* (MSRP) for the 2013 Nissan LEAF:
About the 2013 Nissan LEAF
Now in its third model year, the Nissan LEAF is the world's best-selling pure electric vehicle with nearly 50,000 cumulative sales worldwide. For 2013, the LEAF features numerous customer-focused upgrades. LEAF is powered by a responsive 80kW AC synchronous motor produced at Nissan's Powertrain Assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn. The 2013 LEAF's output is 107 horsepower, with 187 lb-ft. of torque. Energy is supplied by an advanced 48-module lithium-ion battery made at the new battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn.
The 2013 Nissan LEAF is offered in three well-equipped models, the LEAF S, LEAF SV and LEAF SL. Standard features include 6-way manual driver's seat, 4-way manual front passenger's seat, trip computer (instant and average energy consumption, driving time, outside temperature and autonomy range), Automatic Temperature Control (ATC), center console storage and 3.6 kW onboard charger. Other standard equipment includes Nissan Intelligent KeyÂ® with Push Button Start, BluetoothÂ® hands-free phone system, power windows with driver's window one-touch auto up/down, power door locks with auto locking feature, remote charge door release, variable intermittent windshield wipers, AM/FM/CD with MP3 playback capability and a 12-volt power outlet.
LEAF SV models are upgraded to 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a 6.6 kW onboard charger, cruise control, auto dimming rear view mirror, energy saving hybrid heating system, an upgraded 6-speaker sound system, 7-inch color LCD display, PandoraÂ® link for iPhone users, Nissan Navigation system with CARWINGS telematics and B-mode setting for increased regenerative braking. At an MSRP of $31,820, the 2013 LEAF SV represents a $3,380 savings over a similar 2012 model.
LEAF SL adds leather-appointed seats, 17-inch five spoke alloy wheels, DC 480V fast charge port, automatic on/off LED headlights, fog lights, photovoltaic solar panel rear spoiler and HomeLinkÂ® Universal Transceiver. At an MSRP of $34,840, the 2013 LEAF SL represents a $2,410 savings over a similar 2012 model.
Incremental aerodynamic and energy management improvements are expected to give the 2013 LEAF improved range** over previous model years. Final range estimates for the 2013 Nissan LEAF are awaiting EPA test cycle verification.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.8 million vehicles in 2011, generating revenue of 9.4 trillion yen ($118.95 billion US). With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011-2012 Car of the Year Japan and 2011 World Car of the Year awards.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 and 2011 ENERGY STARÂ® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information about Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.Infiniti.com.
With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to Sustainable Mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.
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* MSRP excludes applicable tax, title, license fees and destination charges. Dealer sets actual price. Prices and specs are subject to change without notice.
**Charging times and range estimates may vary depending on driving/charging habits, weather, temperature and battery age. A 6.6W onboard charger is a standard feature on SV and SL trims, and optional feature on the S trim.