Nissan aims to triple Leaf sales

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Nissan aims to triple Leaf sales

Nissan GB boss Jim Wright will be "disappointed" if sales of the refreshed all-electric Leaf don't triple in the next financial year.

Speaking exclusively to AOL Cars, Wright said the Leaf's new lower price meant it is now available for just £200 a month – a price he believes will tip sales into the low thousands.

Nissan will finish this financial year with 900 Leaf sales on the board, but the target for 2013-14 will be to crack the 3,000 mark.

In a candid interview at the Geneva Motor Show, Wright said Nissan overestimated the advantage of being first to market with an electric car while underestimating the disadvantages.

"When we reduced the price there were a handful of dealers who picked up the phone and called everyone they had in their database and we've had one dealer group sell 11 in a week," said Wright.

"Before the price reduction they were doing one a week. I certainly feel more optimistic.

"Since we reduced the price of the car our order take has increased. The car is now trading at less than £20,000 which means dealers can offer it at £239 a month, but many are giving up their margin to get this closer to £200 a month – at that price it really starts to stack up as a second car."

Wright added that with competitor launches of EVs increasing, the public's awareness will also rise. Renault will soon launch its electric Zoe while BMW is on the cusp of rolling out the i3 and i8 EV supercar.

"We will market the Leaf more heavily this year when the Sunderland production models hit the market," added Wright

The Nissan boss also admitted that the launch of EVs had been "painful" but he believes the lower price, UK production and aggressive advertising strategy will pay off.

"In comparison to the pain we have struggled with so far with EVs, this year should see the dealers all on board, marketing the car aggressively – as will we – then I think, touch wood, we'll get into the thousands."