To cope with the initial demand for the Leaf in the US, Nissan’s US dealers will receive only one demo car of this model instead of two (as they were promised). Nissan Division Vice President Al Castignetti said that this is being done to free up more cars for sales.
A total of 1,000 extra Leafs will be added to those that will go to consumers when the model starts selling next month.
Part of Nissan’s marketing scheme involved an Internet program where consumers could make a reservation for the car and make a $99 refundable deposit. Due to high demand, Nissan stopped taking reservations three months early as the sales limit for the car was already reached.
In the first year, only 20,000 Leafs will be released in the US market. Production is limited because of its Japanese assembly line and the plant that supplies the lithium-ion battery are both new. Castignetti said that the company is proceeding carefully as the battery plant boosts its own production.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Castignetti said that the company is being “very cautious about over-promising anything.” But he emphasized that the launch of the Leaf in December remains on schedule.
Nissan will construct another lithium-ion battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn., which is also the site of its Leaf assembly. For this plant, Nissan is investing $1.6 billion. But the products from this site are not expected to roll out until late in 2012. [via autonews - sub. required]