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Nissan poised to boost Leaf output

Through July, Nissan sold 11,703 Leafs in the United States — a 230 percent increase over the 3,543 units sold during the seven months last year.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Nissan is making plans to begin building more electric Leafs as dealers clamor for more of the once slow-selling car.

The automaker’s North American factory chief — who has been visiting with retailers in recent days — cautions that production will move ahead in small and careful steps.

But Nissan is already taking measures to increase its output of electric motors from its engine factory in Decherd, Tenn., says Bill Krueger, Nissan Americas vice chairman and senior vice president for manufacturing, purchasing production engineering and supply chain management.

Decherd is now staffing up to launch a third work shift that will give Nissan a third more electric motors starting this fall. That will ease up a critical pinch-point for Leaf output in the United States.

Krueger, speaking today on the sidelines of the 2013 CAR Management Briefing Seminars here, said the company also will decide next month whether to add a second shift to its production of lithium-ion battery modules for the car in Smyrna, Tenn.

Retailers have been selling about 2,000 Leafs a month lately — three to four times its volume of a year ago, before the car was moved into U.S. production.



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