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Nissan Reports 42,700 Sales of LEAF, Renews Commitment to EVs

At Nissan’s conference to report Q2 2012 financial results, held earlier this week, the company’s chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga discussed the automaker’s progress with making and selling electric vehicles. He spoke in lofty terms about Nissan’s vision to help solve global warming, and reported that global LEAF sales now stand at 42,700 units, including 19,000 sales in Japan.

Shiga struck a somewhat apologetic tone, asking the audience to look at Nissan’s sense of mission, and long-term commitment, rather than the hard sales numbers.

Thanks to a video of the conference posted to the Internet, it’s possible to get a direct statement about Nissan’s EV efforts from one of the company’s top executives. He expressed frustration about the slow pace of sales, but renewed Nissan’s commitment to find out why sales have been lower than expected, and take action. According to his remarks, he sees the installation of Quick Chargers as a key to increasing market demand. It’s not clear if he believes this applies equally to all markets where Nissan electric cars are available.

Shiga’s position on Nissan’s EVs starts at the 41:40 mark of the video. It was the final issue that he addressed during the 45-minute conference. Here is a transcript of his entire statement about EVs, slightly edited for clarity:

Sales volume of EVs is slow. That’s what I’m reading in the media. Frankly, it’s disappointing, and I am frustrated.

Nissan, by becoming a leader in the zero emissions area, will help contribute to solving global warming and [energy] resource issues. Somewhere in the history of human beings, people will have to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. And Nissan is assuming a risk—we are not the first ones, but we are deploying EVs for the first time as a mass volume automaker…however, we have a strong resolution and a big mission in mind. That is why we decided to penetrate the market with zero emissions vehicle. That’s the ambition we have.
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