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Looking for Nissan’s Inflection Point on Electric Cars

Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, delivering the keynote address Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, said he’s “not changing his bullish” outlook on zero-emissions cars. He warned reporters afterwards not to take one or two months of sales results as an indication of the promise of electric car technology or his commitment to it. But production and sales numbers, at some point, are going to have to seriously increase, if Ghosn is going to make good on his words.

Ghosn is holding firm to his view that by 2020, electric cars will command about 10 percent of total auto sales in major mature global markets, like US, Europe, and Japan.

Yet, for the first few months of 2012, LEAF sales in the US have been modest, only around 500 or 600 sales each month. Katherine Zachary, a spokesperson for Nissan USA, told yesterday that global sales of the LEAF are “just over 27,000.”

Current Growth Rate

Last July, Ghosn said that more than 10,000 electric Nissan LEAF vehicles had been sold worldwide. By the end of November, LEAF sales had surpassed 20,000 units. And adding the 954 LEAF sales reported in the US in December easily pushes the global number above 21,000.


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