Nissan drops price on 2013 Leaf; most to be built in U.S.
A new S trim will be priced under the current model's $36,050 base price.
Nissan, hit by limited capacity and a weaker dollar, had been planning to build the Leaf in the U.S. since the car's launch in 2011. By 2015, the automaker said, it will manufacture 85 percent of its U.S. sales volume at its Smyrna, Tenn., plant, which also builds the Maxima and Altima.
The automaker has also started producing and assembling the car's lithium-ion battery in a nearby plant, instead of shipping the cells from South Korea to the U.S. for final assembly, as General Motors does for the Chevrolet Volt.
The Volt outsold the Leaf by more than two to one in 2012; the Leaf failed to reach even half of its 20,000 sales target. In total, about 19,500 Leafs have been sold in the U.S., compared with about 30,000 Volt models. Nissan has not released any estimate for 2013.
However, a new S trim level will be priced below the current base model's $36,050 price. In Japan, this trim (pictured above) throws out the alloy wheels for plastic covers and gets rid of the LED headlights and fog lamps. Nissan did not confirm what equipment would be deleted on the S, but we'd expect it to keep the alloys and lose the Leaf's standard heated front and rear seats -- plus its heated steering wheel. With the removal of the LED headlights -- an expensive option, even on Audi models -- the price could easily be $3,000 less. But that's just our guess.
What's more important for 2013 Leaf buyers is an updated warranty that will require Nissan to fix or replace the battery if its capacity drops by more than 30 percent within five years or 60,000 miles. Nissan bought back two cars in Arizona under the state's Lemon Law after dozens of owners in the Phoenix area complained of severe battery loss within the first two years.
Several company executives, including Executive Vice President Andy Palmer, flew from Japan to meet privately with Leaf owners in Scottsdale on Tuesday. Nissan has not admitted to any fault, but if they're not careful, lawsuits could start boiling over before the new production line finishes its first week.
I feel one reason Nissan lost sales to the VOLT is purely on the looks of the LEAF. Nissan needs to make this car over and I would bet it would sell better.
"Ford, Chrysler and GM think they need to build many of theirs in another country to sell them here."
Well, more and more of the GM and Ford vehicles are being built in USA. Chrysler still has a load of vehicles made in USA as well, including multiple Dodge and Jeep vehicles, with many USA designed parts that are also manufactured here. Yes, the parts content could be higher but you yourself mentioned multiple times that we are in a global economy. Part of being in that global economy is shipping parts around that make more sense to manufacture in one location as opposed to in multiple.
What also doesn't help the "big 3" out is their need to employ union workers for any US factory. Think what you want, good or bad, about union workers but they usually end up causing a higher price per worker than non-union workers, through benefits or simply hourly wage. Kinda sucks in one breath but nice in the next.
Be that as it may, I'm not upset about the Leaf being made in USA but I'm not going to delude myself into thinking they are doing it to help our economy. They are doing it as the Yen to Dollar ratio is killing them right now and Japan is starting to ship more and more of their manufacturing out of their own country. But hey, it helps our economy so I'm not going to really complain about them doing it. Will I buy one of these Leaf's? Nah, not my car that doesn't fit my needs.
I'd sooner buy a Diesel over a Hybrid or Electric as they don't rely on a battery that will need to be replaced, sooner or later.
Thank you Nissan for bringing jobs to America.
Chevy, as an American company you should be ashamed for importing the Volt's battery when you could use American employees and American factories and resources. You have experieinced automotive building talent in your own back yard and despite being bailed out by America (the majority of them living outside of Detroit) , you turn your back on your country and continue to invest in overseas infrastructure, employee pools and reward Americans with questionable quality.
Putting a Chevy badge on an imported car and calling it a "global platform" doesn't make the car American when its parts are foreign and the vehicles are assembled outside of America. Sure, the profit may go into GM's bank account but how does that help the unemployed American auto-worker, part suppliers and towns hurt by shuttered GM dealerships and factories?
I'm still baffled as to why the Japanese can afford to build their cars here and make a nice profit but Ford, Chrysler and GM think they need to build many of theirs in another country to sell them here. Can anyone explain this and tell me why it is OK?
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