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Europe: Euro-Market Nissan Leaf Getting a Makeover, Lower Price

Nissan is planning to restyle the Leaf EV for European customers and may also reduce its price, according to Automotive News. While the Leaf available in Europe today is the same Japanese-sourced car sold in the U.S. and other markets, Nissan says it will tweak the EV’s exterior to suit European tastes before it begins Leaf production at Nissan’s Sunderland, England plant February of next year.

“We’ll fine-tune the car for the European customer from a design point of view,” Nissan Europe’s vice president of engineering Colin Lawther told Automotive News.

In addition to the EV’s looks, which European critics have described as awkward and bland, Lawther says driving range will also be improved from the current rating of roughly 100 miles, and power delivery will be refined for less jerky acceleration.

Despite having won European Car of the Year in 2011, the Leaf has been a slow seller in Europe, with 1733 units sold so far toward Nissan’s target of 20,000-25,000 Leaf sales in 2012. This is partly due to its limited availability outside of regions offering EV incentives, as well as the car’s high price. In the UK, the Leaf starts at 25,990 pounds (about $41,600) including a 5000-pound government electric vehicle grant.

“Obviously one of the problems is that the initial purchase price is very high,” Lawther said to Automotive News. “Making it in the UK will take about a third of the cost of the car out.”



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