2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Come March, Nissan claims that workers at its Oppama factory in Japan will add overtime and holiday shifts to pump out Leafs at a rate of 4,000 units per month. This level of output could allow Nissan to fulfill all U.S. pre-orders for the Leaf by the end of summer. However, Automotive News (sub. req.) reports that a shortage of Leafs will force Nissan to delay accepting additional orders for the battery-powered hatch.

AN claims that Nissan expects to have no issues fulfilling Japan's 6,000 Leaf orders by the end of March, but delivery of the 27,000 U.S.-bound Leafs will take significantly longer and could lead to extended delays.

Nissan's chief operating officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, told AN that the automaker will resume taking orders for the Leaf "after we deliver enough volume to the first lot." Shiga admitted that balancing demand from the U.S., Japan and Europe will be "a little tough" and realizes that "some U.S. customers are frustrated." Those customers might be a bit more disgruntled after hearing Shiga's remark that, "Delivery is a little bit delayed because of shipping timing and deliveries to Japan."

Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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