LEAF Deliveries See Slow Start in Japan

Nissan Motor Co started selling its LEAF electric vehicles from December of last year in Japan, hoping to become a leader in the electric car market. At the launch, Nissan set the price for the EV at JPY3.76 million (about $45,000), and said it has installed charging equipment at all its 2,200 domestic dealers in Japan so drivers will be able to charge the car when the battery runs low.

Since then, the carmaker has only delivered about 60 LEAFs in Japan despite the fact that is has received 6,000 orders due to be delivered by March 31, according to Japan Today. Of the total, 19 units were handed over in December and an estimated 40 between January 1 and 14, company officials said. According to Nissan's chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga, the slow initial roll out is due to the slow pace of manufacturing: "We want to launch the Leaf entirely free of troubles. We are making the cars a bit slowly while taking thorough care. We might make our customers wait.”

Sales of the electric car have also been slowed by the fact that it takes time for consumers to complete the paperwork necessary for receiving the government subsidy of up to JPY780,000($9,450) per vehicle. Usually, when Japanese manufacturers start selling a new car, production has begun and the rollout is constant, resulting record sales in the first and second months. But this was not the case with the LEAF.

“As it is our first major project to mass produce EVs, we began building them with caution... Production lines are working fine, so we expect to fill the orders as planned,” Japan Today quotes an undisclosed Nissan official.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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