Wednesday, March 6, 2013
David Mundell UK MP.... Carlos Ghosn KNEW the Leaf Was Crappy Technology.... Sales Plummet in America
With an estimated overall seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of about 15.2 million units according toJ.D. Power and Associates, February was marginally weaker than January 2013, but total sales were 7 percent stronger than in February 2012. The retail sales SAAR of 12.1 million units is down from January's 13.1 million as well, but still ahead of February 2012 figures.
PARIS—The Renault-Nissan alliance's multibillion-euro electric-vehicle program, marred by delays and disappointing sales, faces crucial tests this month amid the slump in European auto demand and the Japanese yen's volatility against foreign currencies.
Renault SA's RNO.FR -1.30% first compact electric car hits showrooms in France this month, benefiting from a €7,000 ($9,114) a car government subsidy putting it on par with conventionally powered cars. The battery is rented separately. Nissan starts production of the Leaf, its flagship electric car, in the U.K. this month too. Production began outside Japan for first time in the new year at the Japanese auto maker's Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant.
an incentive that was raised from €5,000 last year. The ZOE will cost about the same as for Renault's relaunched thermally powered Clio subcompact car. Nissan recently announced an 18% price reduction for Leafs sold in the U.S. to $28,800. It has cut the price in Europe, too.
But such optimism contrasts with growing realism about the slow uptake of electrical cars.
"The speed of the ramp-up is the big question," Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said in an interview. "I don't see the trajectory of sales that we initially dreamed of," Mr. Palmer said.
Despite Nissan undershooting its target of selling 9,000 electric vehicles in Europe last year by a wide margin, Mr. Palmer says there is momentum in its sales. Last year, global sales topped the 50,000 mark, including some 7,000 in Europe, "so it's by no means a niche product." Making the Leaf in Europe and U.K. will help Nissan combat the problem it had of the previously strong yen crimping the competitiveness of Japanese-made cars.