Seeking Global Domination, Nissan Hunts New Markets for the Leaf

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

After becoming something close to a joke over the past couple of years, the once-groundbreaking Nissan Leaf enters 2018 with a new skin, larger battery, and enhanced range. Next year brings an optional battery upgrade, finally giving the five-door EV a range capable of challenging Tesla and General Motors.

Now that it has a competitive vehicle positioned as a value pick in a growing segment, Nissan wants everyone to get a chance to buy one, no matter where they live. It may have shied away from sales targets in the U.S., but Nissan’s not dialing back its global ambitions.

As reported by Wards Auto, Nissan has decided to launch the Leaf in seven new markets this year. The announcement, made at Nissan Futures, a Singapore meeting of industry executives, government officials, and media from the Asia and Oceania region, heralds the Leaf’s status as a truly global product. Buyers in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand will soon have access to the car.

Japanese customers got first dibs on the new model, which went on sale last October. 2018 Leafs began rolling onto dealer lots in North America last month, and European sees its first second-gen models this month.

While that’s already plenty of exposure, Nissan seems ready to launch the Leaf in any market where the Leaf might prove popular. Market analyst Frost & Sullivan presented research at Nissan Futures showing an average of 37 percent of would-be buyers in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines would consider an electric vehicle for their next car. With the right incentives, Nissan’s Leaf could become their top choice, Frost & Sullivan believes.

The 2018 Leaf’s 40 kWh battery pack gives it a U.S. range of 151 miles. With an entry price of $29,990 before a $885 delivery charge and a $7,500 tax credit, the Leaf undercuts the Bolt and Model 3 by over $5,000, though a longer range model — promised to have over 200 miles of range — will surely narrow that price gap.

[Image: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
6 of 16 comments
  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Feb 17, 2018

    There are lots of Leaf's running around where I live. A lot of them would have been bought used, with no subsidy. This talk of EV Luddites is a corruption of the meaning of "Luddite", and evokes images of nut cases shouting at windmills.

    • See 3 previous
    • Maymar Maymar on Feb 18, 2018

      @brandloyalty I strongly doubt any EV advocate would be opposed to 400+ mile ranges and 5 minute charging times, but our refusal to froth with outrage that they aren't available now apparently means we hate the idea, I guess.

  • Healthy skeptic Healthy skeptic on Feb 18, 2018

    I never thought I'd say this, but this car makes the first gen version look quite attractive. Actually, the first gen version had a kind of funky charm to it. Every time I see this car, I want to "close" the hood.

  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...
  • CEastwood From zero there is nowhere to go but up . BYD isn't sold in the U.S. and most Teslas are ugly azz 90s looking plain jane drone mobiles . I've only seen one Rivian on the road and it 's not looking good for them . I live out in the sticks of NW NJ and EVs just aren't practical here , but the local drag strip thrives in the warmer months with most cars making the trip from New York .
  • Lorenzo Aw, that's just the base price. Toyota dealers aren't in the same class as BMW/Porsche upsellers, and the Toyota base is more complete, but nobody will be driving that model off the lot at that price.
  • Mike The cost if our busing program is 6.2 million for our average size district in NJ. It was 3.5 last year.