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Nissan May Hit Electric-Car Sales Target Before 2020 – WSJ.com

Nissan May Hit Electric-Car Sales Target Before 2020

March 15, 2014 6:43 AM

Japanese Car Maker Is Looking to Emerging Markets for Growth

Nissan’s Leaf electric car runs in Thimphu, Bhutan. The Japanese car maker could hit its electric-vehicle sales target before 2020. Photo: Associated Press
By
JEJU, South Korea—Nissan Motor Co. may be able to sell more electric cars than initially thought as an increasing number of countries are embracing fossil fuel alternatives, Billy Hayes, vice president of Nissan’s global electric vehicle business, said Saturday.

“We have every reason to believe our new target is achievable. We believe we can hit it sooner than 2020,” Mr. Hayes said in an interview on the sidelines of an electric vehicle exhibition organized by the Korean government on Jeju island.

Nissan unveiled its best-selling electric car, the Leaf, in Korea at the exhibition on the resort island. The auto maker has sold more than 100,000 units of the vehicle globally since its launch in 2010. Other foreign auto makers, including Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, General Motors Co. and Renault SA, also put their latest electric-vehicle models on display.

Nissan expects to sell the Leaf in Korea from the second half of this year.

“The nice thing about electric vehicles is that once people own an EV, they don’t want to go back to an ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicle. It is getting contagious [so] fast that we can hit the number faster,” he said.

Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, who also heads Renault, its French partner, said last month it is pushing back its goal of selling a combined 1.5 million units of electric vehicles globally by four years to 2020 amid consumer complaints about a shorter range than combustion-engine cars, lack of refueling infrastructure and comparatively high prices.

Despite the push back, however, the potential for the green vehicle market is huge because of growing pressure around the world to meet tougher emission standards, said Mr. Hayes.

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