Don't count Nissan among automakers looking to crank up some new diesels anytime soon. Instead, the company will continue to push for plug-ins.

Nissan is expecting annual U.S. sales of its battery-electric Leaf to jump sixfold between 2011 and 2013 but is downplaying the possibility of selling a diesel-powered vehicle, Car and Driver said, citing company executives.

The Japanese automaker, which sold just under 9,700 Leafs last year, may more than double sales to 22,000 units this year and may surpass the 60,000-vehicle mark in 2013, according to Al Castignetti, a Nissan vice president and general manager. Nissan also said it was looking into plug-in hybrid-electric powertrains, but no specifics about timeframe or model were given.

As for diesels, Nissan once said (in 2007) that it would start selling a diesel-powered Maxima in 2010, but it is no longe likely to pursue that type of powertrain because of government restrictions and cost concerns, Pierre Loing, Nissan vice president for product strategy and planning told Car and Driver.

German automakers such as Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have relaunched diesel sales in the U.S. in recent years after decades of improving their performance in Europe. Meanwhile, General Motors said last year that it will introduce a diesel-powered Chevrolet Cruze to the U.S. next year. So far, Americans seem to be enjoying the option.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awww... not gonna bring back the diesel Maxima? That car could really, really use an improvement in fuel economy. My 1994's "old MPG" rating is the same as the 2012's rating. Love the Maxima, it's a hoot to toss around and stand on the pedal.. the V6 sounds fantastic and performs really well. But with that fuel economy, i consider it a vehicle for hauling stuff and nothing more. And selling 60k Leafs in a year? Maybe Nissan PR was celebrating 4/20 today.. lol That'd make sense if they planned on dropping the price down quite a bit. Otherwise i want whatever they're smoking.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        You know this is a continuation of their talk of massive sales increases starting late this year (they've had time to correct it if they didn't mean it). I think they mean a humongous price decrease. If they really do a 25% - 30% price decrease all the other automakers will realize that they just lost.
        guyverfanboy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        It's disappointing to not sell diesels. I'd love a diesel Altima!
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @guyverfanboy
          True that. The new Altima is pretty damn good though. CVT only sucks though. Give me a 5 speed.. On the other hand.. 22/30mpg on the 3.5L V6? My 200SX SE-R ( 2.0 ) seems more and more like an anemic gas guzzler :(
      lne937s
      • 2 Years Ago
      Spec- in Aug 2009, when the Leaf was announced, a yen was worth $0.0102. In February, it was $0.0131.... or 29% Higher. It fluctuates and is only around 20% higher right now, but is likely to average ~25% higher than when the LEAF was announced in Aug 2009, around 40% higher than when the program was approved. But add in reduced labor costs, reduced transportation costs, economies of scale, etc., and they should easily be able reduce the price by $25%.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      60k in 2013 in the US? What the heck, is this guy high? Nissan is currently toggling with 500 a month in the U.S.. 60k is 5,000 a month! At least with current or previous pricing (before they raised it) 60k is not reasonable - Nissan must be going for a serious big drop in pricing this fall with the US based 2013's. I was expecting a price cut of going back to the original Leaf pricing when production starts in the late fall at Smyrna, TN for 2013 models (i.e. drop the price $2k or so). With that, optimistically, they might sell 15k - 20k next year, just guessing. But if Nissan is really expecting to get 60,000 Leaf's sold in the US next year they better be looking at dropping the price to $29,999 for the base Leaf before tax credits or something. If they do this they will have set the other automakers who might have worried about them before up with the expectation that they would have much higher prices (by working the bugs out of the vehicle and high prices for first 2 years) - and just own the EV market. God I hope they do that and man would they sell a ton. So folks, what do you think the price for the base Leaf in the U.S. is going to be for 2013 to get 60k sales?
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        'Modest cough' I seem to remember saying that they looked like they were going for a few dollars under $30k on the base model before rebate when they gave out the information on their cost reductions due to localisation and reconfirmed their sales targets. It could still be 'just' a reduction back to the initial sales price when they introduced it if they think that demand is high enough, and petrol prices are also high though. What I am a bit surprised about is how long is is taking them to ramp up to full production in the US. I had thought they would turn out more like 80-90,000 in the first year, considering they are hoping to open before year's end.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          BTW my guess for their not hitting the full output in 2013 is that they need new battery chemistry to take another chunk out of costs, and that will not be ready until 2014.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Hi Sas: Nope, Nissan/Renault have said that they are ramping production up to the full 550,000 by 2014/5, with the possibility of another 150,000 from Renault for the Zoe if demand warrants it. The reason for the fast ramp is that they are going for cost reduction as fast as they can, so as to do without subsidies as they expire. To get costs down they need volume, and to give their suppliers decent volume to enable cheaper quotes for items like 6.6kw chargers etc.
          Sasparilla Fizz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Just getting the factory up to speed. :-) Even at a fantastic price like $29k before incentives it'll still take a while to get demand up to 150,000 a year in the U.S.. I'm guessing they are planning on hitting that a few years down the line. What balls Ghosn has...unbelievable. All the other automakers are just going to be dumbfounded if Nissan does this.
        Maddoxx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        I could see the base price being $29,995 for the US based leaf and $39,995. for the Infiniti LE. This would cause a price contest on EV's and hybrids. Or the price could stay the same but battery and power would be vastly improved.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        If Nissan does a price decrease like this it will scare the living daylights out of all the other automakers - as Nissan will be doing this to make money (Ghosn doesn't go for loss leaders) and own the market. They will all know they are 4-5 years behind and Nissan is trying to lock up the plug-in market ala Toyota and hybrids.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Battery production is starting in the US in August, and they reckon that from September on sales will shoot up. Looking at the figures they have provided, which actually increase the sales target in 2012 from 20,000 to 22,000, it seems to me that they hope to sell 7,000 Leaf cars up to September. So far they have sold 5-600 pm in 2012, so that is maybe 1800 up to the end of March. So they are going for about 1,000 pm up to the end of August, and after that hope to go full blast at 5,000 pm it would appear, or about the same as they hope to make per month in the US factory in 2013. That sounds like a price drop at the start of September to me, with costs from US production of the battery allowing it. I'm not sure where the Leaf bodies will come from, but possibly they are planning to stockpile them and fit the cheaper US made batteries. Further out the reason for the relatively slow ramp of production after the US car factory gets going may be that they are looking to take more cost out in 2014/5 with the introduction of more advanced battery chemistry taking cost out per kilowatt hour.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        The Leaf will be fully produced (bodies and all) in the US later this year - its not just batteries. Europe next year as well. The scale of the investment on Nissan's part is staggering. They've bet a huge amount of their "chips" on this.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          Battery production has already started in the UK.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          It would hurt Nissan/Renault if BEVs do not take off, but would be a very long way from a death blow. Supposing the very worse case, and that they carry on ramping all of their facilities flat out and then sales suddenly stop. That is about 550,000 vehicles. But it is out of around 8,500,000 total sales, and so is only around 6.5% of that. It would hurt, but could be coped with. Of course, none of this is going to happen. They will be watching sales, and can cut back on going full scale if there are problems, and since they have aggressive expansion plans for other vehicles can re-purpose factories. A large part of the money they have spent is R & D, and so already accounted for. In any case, aside from pure electrics conventional cars are being electrified, so the much of the investment they have made in compatible equipment is safe. They could also switch emphasis to plug in hybrids, and use their battery and electrical component capabilities to be leaders there. The investment is large, but they have not bet the farm.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          "They could also switch emphasis to plug in hybrids, and use their battery and electrical component capabilities to be leaders there." Does Nissan have a plug hybrid on sale? Or do they have to do the BEV-ICE integration from scratch? Seamless Volt-like cutovers aren't easy.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          Crossovers and plug ins are not easy. However many of the components needed are the same as for BEV production, so it is not as big a new development effort for Nissan as it is for others. They would still need a great deal of work and development, but they are some of the way there, and, for instance, the batteries used in the Volt are pretty much the same as in the Leaf and the factories could switch to producing them for plug-ins with decent range. Mitsubishi is already going for the plug in market as well as the BEV.
      krona2k
      • 2 Years Ago
      The ongoing price drops when the US and UK factories come on line are going to be shocking. If they're not it's hard to see where the massive increase in sales is going to come from.
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @krona2k
        It could mean they're expanding Leaf availability to 30 countries........it doesn't necessarily mean sales will shoot up in any particular market, in fact sales could even drop in some places.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @krona2k
        Of course it could just be standard sales 'puffery' & wishful thinking.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Nissan/Renault will not corner the market in electric vehicles. Because they have not emphasised the US Mitsubishi has gone with less notice than they might have had. They are going largely for plug ins though, and as well as the iMiEV have a whole raft of offerings in that field coming. Nissan/Renault will certainly be by far the largest player though.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Marco: I see LPG/CNG mainly in heavy/long distance use. The reason for this is that electric vehicles once production is high enough potentially reduce manufacturing costs, batteries aside. CNG and LPG use all the complication of ICE vehicles but add a bulky and expensive tank. However I don't usually pick winners, and it seems to me that the fundamental precondition of moving to battery vehicles will also drive alternative fuel vehicles, high oil prices. So I would fully expect sales of those to increase as well as electric and hybrid vehicles, and conversely low oil prices however unlikely would hit both. They are not really mutually exclusive, or at any rate not yet, as both are tiny in relation to the ICE market, with the immediate goal of 150,000 Leaf cars produced in the US for instance amounting to ~1% of US new car sales, and sales of CNG/LPG vehicles still smaller. If they ever do come to duke it out, it will in my view be at a later stage when their market share is much more substantial. I am a supporter of CNG/LPG, although they are a contributor, rather than a paradigm shifter it would seem. As for the costs of Nissan/Renault, all I attempt is to read the tea-leaves of their statements, rather than make assumptions, since I don't have the information to do so. So if they tell us that they can greatly reduce costs by localisation and in addition go for a massive increase in projected sales, I just try to tease out the implications of those two statements for what they may be intending on prices and so on, rather than trying to estimate whether they can do what they say. I will continue this approach so long as they perform pretty well to target, which they have so far on electric vehicles in spite of vast numbers of people and institutions saying their targets were impossible. If they start falling far short of their projections then I will think again. So the triggers for that are if they sell something like 22,000 Leaf cars in the States this year, and in 2013 get their factory started in the US and are selling around 5,000 a month. I am just guesstimating what prices they will need to offer to achieve this, and if they can hit those sales and production targets at a higher price, fine. Their credibility is good at the moment, but only continuing performance will maintain that.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @ Dave Mart The threat to EV's from LPG/NG is political. Government can easily ensure the success of LPG by simply not taxing it at the same rate as gasoline. LPG/CNG/NG could provide the average American with a US produced fuel, environmentally cleaner than any other technology, (on a nationwide basis), and more economical than any other technology. US consumers can continue driving large SUV's (without range anxiety) at an affordable $2 a gallon. It's difficult to see how any US manufacturer could justify trying to sell small, overpriced electric vehicles in comparison? Curiously, even where LPG/CNG is available, people still opt for the more expensive gasoline versions of the same vehicle. The hope for EV's is the rapidly growing demand for NG in the PRC and India will push the price of export NG higher.
          Sasparilla Fizz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          That might be valid except for the massive amount of money Nissan has sunk into these factories (battery factories are closer in relation to constructing semiconductor production facilities - they take years and are terribly expensive). Nissan wouldn't be pushing this huge amount of money out there to sell 1000 cars a month in the U.S.. They are about to corner the market in electric cars the world over and nobody has seen it coming.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          I think companies deserve to be evaluated according to how they perform against their claims rather than tarred with a generic brush. Nissan have done what they said they would so far on electric cars, which many said was impossible. They now tell us that they can reduce costs a lot and have lifted their sales targets. If they start missing I will be the first to say so. BTW Mitsubishi are well placed to meet any price reductions from Nissan, as they tell us that they are reducing prices fast themselves.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @ Dave Mart I think you are probably right. However, it's by no means a certainty. Although EV manufacture in the UK and US benefits from the low US dollar, other factors may reduce the saving to allow only a small reduction in price. But, if the US economy picks up, a lot of potential leaf buyers will emerge. Australia recently hosted a high level delegation of US energy planners and politicians, studying the Australian LPG sales and distribution model. To replicate, the US would need to spend only $4.6 billion,the rest would be covered by the oil companies. This investment could put nearly 40 million US vehicles on the road, fuelled by LPG within the next 7 years. Many of these would be heavy vehicles and high mileage vehicles like taxi's,buses, delivery, SUV's and emergency services. From an environmental aspect, 40 million LPG vehicles. Economically, this would prove far more environmentally beneficial than even 100,000 thousand EV's. This is a serious potential threat to EV investment . OEM's like Ford, GM and Mitsubishi, already have advanced LPG technology in production, and on sale. If the US adopted the Australian model and offered LPG at 50% the price of gasoline, with subsidised conversions, then EV sales are in serious trouble. LPG advocates argue that although LPG is still a fossil fuel, NG is abundant in the US and very economic. Indeed much of this resource is simply wasted. The negative aspects relating to some methods of extraction , can be managed with good technology and regulation. NG can also prove an economic method of power generation, so different NG products compete with each other for technical viability.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          US vs OZ are very different, because OZ has much higher gas tax. There's less room to cut tax in the US, so EVs make more sense. If the US had a more sensible gas tax (+$3/gal), then EVs and LPG would make far more sense.
      • 2 Years Ago
      As much as we hate to admit to ourselves, oil is going to run out. It's not like we can produce endless supply oil like we can generate electricity from the various means of capturing it. The problem now with electricity is capture and storage. It is expensive to capture it and it's even more expensive to store it and to use it. Until we figure out a way to un-burn the oil we've burned or create a process by which oil can be man-made like electricity, gasoline prices will increase, and continue to increase for generations and generations to come. Gasoline in America was around $1 twelve years ago, and now it's $4. How much will gasoline cost in another twenty years? $5? $6? $7? $8? $10? $100 to fill up your car? You've got to wonder how much minimum wage will be then....
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      So they are predicting a price cut then?
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        To do 60k year / 5k a month it has to be a humongous price cut (like much of that 30% cost reduction they were talking about). Nissan may have set all the other automakers up with their initial pricing so they wouldn't worry and charge in to the market - Ghosn would be a god for playing it this way.
        nbsr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        ...or price cut and a new model. I can easily imagine this big increase in sales - Leaf is currently a bit too expensive and a bit under-specced. Relatively minor improvements may produce quite dramatic results.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      "I honestly think they could ignite the sales on a lesser price decrease, about 15%.. $30k.." That would place them $1k *over* the MIEV. If Nissan wants to be the Versa of EVs, they'll need to start at $27k to clearly undercut the MIEV.
      Robdaemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Too bad you didn't pursue diesel, Nissan. I would have traded in my 2008 Maxima 3.5SE for a diesel with the new body style. Now I'm driving a Golf TDI.
        nbsr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Robdaemon
        They are pursuing diesel (like pretty much all other automakers), just not in the US. The reason is given in the article. Can't really blame them for that - they are here to earn money, not to promote diesel cars.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      The MIEV is cute, not wierd like the Leaf. It's a big bean, which is better shape for America than a hatch.
      Turbo Froggy
      • 2 Years Ago
      eh I don't think so. If Nissan want's to sell 60K a year/5K a month all Nissan needs to do is actually make/import 60K/year 5K/month, they will all sell immediatly. No price cut needed, just more production.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Didn't the Leaf suffer a sales drop last month in the US? Or do they mean worldwide sales?
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        They actually increased last month, but the monthly sales number was still very small (like 600 or something). Expecting 5,000 a month sales means something really big has to change in a really big way and that would prices.
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          That's a hypothesis. We really don't know if and by how much a price drop would affect sales. It could also be that there's just a very limited number of people out there looking for an EV, and owning a house where they can charge it. Most people in big cities live in apartment buildings with no means to charge.
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