According to Automotive News, Nissan is preparing to build a budget version of America's most popular electric vehicle in Tennessee when the company's plant in Smyrna begins to build the Leaf there. This is scheduled to begin in December for deliveries starting in March. AN says the new entry-level Leaf will be part of the car's 2013 model year facelift and could lose some features in the nav system and LED headlights.
We have long heard that domestic production would lower the cost of the Leaf – especially since the battery will be made nearby – but so far, Nissan is not talking about what, exactly, the new, budget-level price might be. Previous rumors – and they are just rumors – pegged the pre-incentive price at something between $26,600 and $31,500. Whatever the new price is, Nissan has previously said that it expects Leaf sales to double once Smryna production comes online.
Last month, Nissan sold 984 Leafs, an improvement from the 685 sold in August. So far, in 2012, Nissan has sold 5,212 Leafs, fewer than the 7,199 it had sold in 2011 by the end of September. The current entry price for the Leaf is $35,200, plus destination and without the federal tax credit worth up to $7,500.