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Every Nissan EV ‘profitable’

Sharing is caring: While the advent of car-sharing services such as GoGet are predicted to disrupt the traditional car ownership model according to some pundits, Renault-Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn thinks new-car sales will continue to grow.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn reveals Leaf and future EVs will make plenty of money

Nissan logo12 Dec 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in TOKYO

NISSAN CEO Carlos Ghosn has revealed that the Leaf electric vehicle is not only heading towards profitability as the best-selling EV in history, but may even exceed initial money-making targets over the first-generation model’s planned six-year lifespan.

Speaking to journalists in Tokyo late last month, the long-serving Nissan boss added that three more EVs that are in the company’s pipeline before 2016 should also be profitable, if not initially, as they edge towards being mainstream consumer propositions.

As part of Mr Ghosn’s plans for electric leadership, the Renault-Nissan alliance as a whole is planning to sell 1.5 million EVs globally by the end of 2016, with the Japanese side of the company expected to have a Pivo 3-style city car, a commercial vehicle and a luxury or sports car as part of its EV regime by that time.

“There is not one electric car that we will launch which is not profitable,” Mr Ghosn said.

“You have to be very careful because the electric car is not very cheap in the first six months, but it has to be judged on the cycle of the car, and the cycle of our car is six years.

“I can tell you that on our six-year cycle the Leaf will be profitable. It would probably even be very profitable, depending on how long governments will continue to offer incentives.”

 center imageLeft: Nissan Leaf (top) and Pivo 3 concept.To date, nearly 20,000 Leafs have found buyers since its launch in October 2010, mainly in Japan, Europe and the United States (even though it is only offered in 30 states there to date).

American sales are on target to eclipse 10,000 units this year, nearly double the amount General Motors expects to achieve with its Volt EV with petrol range-extender.

Mr Ghosn said that, as there is likely another five years left in the current Leaf, making it a more mainstream proposition is the key to hitting Nissan’s volume and bottom-line targets.

“Now we have room to demonstrate that (the EV) is a mass-market popular car,” he explained.

“We have sold 20,000 Leafs already, making it the most-sold EV in car industry history, but next year we are trying to double this number or even go above this.

“So the next challenge is making it a mass-marketing success and making the EV an obvious choice for consumers.

“And not just the Nissan Leaf, either, but with the three other cars coming, and also with the Renault EVs. I don’t want to just make the EV niche.”

Mr Ghosn admitted that the Leaf would not have been developed and launched without government incentives to help build and establish EVs in the marketplace.

“There is no way without incentives we would have launched the car,” he explained.

“There is no way you are going to introduce electric technology that has no scale against the internal combustion engine, which represents 75 million cars a year.

“The only way you are going to do it is to reach a minimum scale of 500,000 to 7000,000 units a year to be competitive.

“Manufacturing the electric car is more simple, but you need the scale – and we have no scale. So the incentives are here to allow us to reach scale that allows you to be competitive.”

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