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Nissan lifts U.S. output of electric Leaf as sales rise

(Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) has lifted U.S. production of its all-electric Leaf by about 50 percent to 3,000 units a month to meet growing demand for the car, the head of the Japanese automaker’s North American operations said on Tuesday.

Jose Munoz said the Leaf logged record sales of 2,500 units in December and was now the best-selling car in some dealerships in Atlanta, where the government is helping promote the technology, outpacing the Altima sedan.

“This car somehow some years ago was not so appealing in terms of the business for the dealers,” Munoz told a group of reporters at the Detroit auto show. “Now the dealers are very positive, they are making business, they are selling cars.”

The pickup in sales was driven in large part by Nissan’s decision to cut its price by more than $6,000 to $29,650 at the beginning of last year after a shift in production of the model to the United States allowed it to lower manufacturing costs.

Demand for electric vehicles has generally failed to live up to expectations set when models like the Leaf and General Motors Co’s (GM.N) gasoline-electric hybrid Volt were being developed.
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