Seeking Global Domination, Nissan Hunts New Markets for the Leaf

2018 Nissan Leaf

After becoming something close to a joke over the past couple of years, the once-groundbreaking Nissan Leaf enters 2018 with a new skin, larger battery, and enhanced range. Next year brings an optional battery upgrade, finally giving the five-door EV a range capable of challenging Tesla and General Motors.

Now that it has a competitive vehicle positioned as a value pick in a growing segment, Nissan wants everyone to get a chance to buy one, no matter where they live. It may have shied away from sales targets in the U.S., but Nissan’s not dialing back its global ambitions.

As reported by Wards Auto, Nissan has decided to launch the Leaf in seven new markets this year. The announcement, made at Nissan Futures, a Singapore meeting of industry executives, government officials, and media from the Asia and Oceania region, heralds the Leaf’s status as a truly global product. Buyers in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand will soon have access to the car.

Japanese customers got first dibs on the new model, which went on sale last October. 2018 Leafs began rolling onto dealer lots in North America last month, and European sees its first second-gen models this month.

While that’s already plenty of exposure, Nissan seems ready to launch the Leaf in any market where the Leaf might prove popular. Market analyst Frost Sullivan presented research at Nissan Futures showing an average of 37 percent of would-be buyers in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines would consider an electric vehicle for their next car. With the right incentives, Nissan’s Leaf could become their top choice, Frost Sullivan believes.

The 2018 Leaf’s 40 kWh battery pack gives it a U.S. range of 151 miles. With an entry price of $29,990 before a $885 delivery charge and a $7,500 tax credit, the Leaf undercuts the Bolt and Model 3 by over $5,000, though a longer range model — promised to have over 200 miles of range — will surely narrow that price gap.

[Image: Nissan]