Report: Nissan Leaf sales to hit 10,000-12,000 in U.S. by end of 2011

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

According to Al Castignetti, Nissan's vice-president of sales, 2011 U.S. sales of the Nissan Leaf will be somewhere around the 10,000- to 12,000-unit range. Of course, this jives with what we've heard before, but considering that most Japanese automakers have slashed production due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami, it's a relief to have confirmation that Leaf production hasn't been noticeably altered.

The numbers show that Nissan is selling more Leafs in the U.S. with each passing month. According to Nissan, U.S. sales of the Leaf hit 1,142 in May, up from 573 in April and 298 in March. Based on orders and hand-raisers, Nissan officially expects to close out 2011 with U.S. sales of its electric hatch exceeding 10,000 units and, at least as we see it, there's no reason to believe that the Japanese automaker will fall short of hitting that target.

What we don't quite understand is how this number falls in line with what we've heard earlier. Last September, Nissan hit its target of 20,000 Leaf reservations. Now, not all of those people who paid $99 are going to buy a Leaf, but it was still so many people saying "I want one!" that Nissan stopping taking more reservations. Then, in December, Nissan spokesman Tim Gallagher told the Mercury News: "By the end of summer, our goal is to have everyone in their car." Does this mean that only about half of the hand-raisers actually decided to buy?

Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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