Find by category:

Exhaust Notes

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.

By Exhaust Notes Jan 9, 2013 12:24PM
Nissan has just started building the electric Leaf at its Tennessee plant, a move to reduce production costs and boost U.S. sales with a new, lower-priced base model.

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.

[Source: Nissan]

Jan 10, 2013 9:21AM
We must remember, three is a huge difference between "ASSEMBLED" and "MADE".  Many of these transplants bring in much of their parts from overseas and the vehicles are then ASSEMBLED here.   Same goes for the tooling and support personnel, much of it is foreign.  Americans are just the menial labor.
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.

Jan 10, 2013 8:18AM

"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.

Jan 9, 2013 4:22PM
Drop the Price to $5.00 Dollars,  I wouldn't buy it ! This is the UGLIEST Vehicle ever produced in all of automotive History !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 9, 2013 5:39PM

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?





Jan 9, 2013 12:42PM
Those dirty rotten Japanese! How dare they create even more US jobs and sell us their products at an even lower price. Just one more reason to hate them I guess.
  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?

Jan 10, 2013 9:06PM
We must also remember how much money Detroit is funneling overseas when we have American employees, with experieince, Ameircan factories, that are already  built and yet Detroit automakers are choosing to use the foreign labor and infrastructure over it's own Country's. Even after so many generous Americans will be paying for the damage to the American economy due to Detroit automakers for many generations. History of Detroit automaker stock prices, for one example, are a good indicator.  
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
MSN Money


Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.

Have a story idea? Tip us off at