This may seems like a long ways to go and enough time for Nissan to pull their act together. Unfortunately, Japan's earthquake last March has dealt the company a heftier blow than anyone realized. "On March 11 every operation stopped, so all the resources that were in place [to begin manufacturing the LEAF in the U.S.] were used to restore Japan," shares Hideaki Watanabe, Head, Global Zero Emission Vehicle Business Unit, Nissan. "All the milestones and studies to localize production in the United States were stopped."1
This is why, it is not such a big surprise to find out that Nissan may be forced to delay the U.S. production of the LEAF electric vehicle. While no one is happy to hear this news, Watanabe concedes, "The earthquake is putting us in a very difficult situation. But, we are not giving up yet. Is there still potential for delay? There may be. We are assessing [that] right now."2 He does not, however, venture a public guess at how long such a delay might be.
Nissan U.S. production plans are to make 15,000 LEAFs annually, at their Smyrna, TN plant. As soon as this summer, drivers from many states, including California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Tennessee, Hawaii and Texas will be invited to place orders. Residents in the remaining states, will be invited by the time production commences in Tennessee.
To find out more about the LEAF, contact Hunt Nissan of Chattanooga at 1-888-226-0783 today. Or visit us in person at 2121 Chapman Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 3742 . We're happy to share complete specs about the Nissan cars and schedule test drives.