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USA: Ford sells 38 electric Focus cars in July as EVs continue to be tough sell

previews for its forthcoming RAV4 EV that will go on sale later this summer.

Nissan has repeatedly insisted it will double Leaf sales in 2012 to 20,000, but with just five months left it looks increasingly unlikely. The automaker would have to sell nearly 3,300 a month for the rest of year — nearly as many as it sold in the first seven months — to meet the goal.

“Our target has not changed,” said Nissan spokesman David Reuter on Wednesday, acknowledging that “sales to date have not met our expectations.”

The automaker is working with its dealers to help them “sell this car, how to educate customers. It’s taking a bit more time. We’re going to have to do a bit more from a marketing standpoint to create awareness.”

GM came under criticism for saying it would sell 10,000 plug-in hybrid Volts in 2011; it ended up selling about 7,600.

The company abandoned its 2012 U.S. sales forecast of 45,000, saying it would instead match supply to meet demand.

GM had been forced to idle the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant for two stretches this year because of lower demand.

In April, Nissan said an executive misspoke when he suggested the company was not likely to double sales of its all-electric Leaf in 2012.

The Japanese automaker sold 9,679 all-electric Leafs in 2011.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said at the New York International Auto Show that the company would double sales of the Leaf in 2012 to 20,000. “We’re not worried about it,” Ghosn said. “I feel very good about this objective.”

Ghosn said he expected Nissan to sell about 600 to 700 Leafs a month as long as the vehicle is exported from Japan to the U.S. Nissan plans to launch U.S. production in December at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn.; the company received a $1.4 billion low-cost federal government loan to build the Leaf in the United States.

Reuter said production will jump once the Leaf begins production in Tennessee.

dshepardson@detnews.com

(202) 662-8735

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