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Nissan cuts Leaf retail price by $6,000 in bid to boost sales

January 14, 2013|By Christine Mai-Duc
  • Masaaki Nishizawa, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co., stands alongside the updated Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. Nissan introduced a cheaper version of the electric vehicle to lure cost-conscious buyers as sales of the original model have fallen short of the company's target.
Masaaki Nishizawa, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co., stands alongside… (Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg )

Consumers looking to purchase a new Nissan Leaf could find themselves saving some green this year.

The 2013 Leaf will retail for $6,000 less than the previous model, the company announced Monday at the Detroit auto show. The S-series, Nissan’s newest model in a line of battery-powered all-electric vehicles, will cost $28,800.

In California, the $7,500 federal electric-vehicle tax credit and a $2,500 state rebate could drop the price as low as $18,800. The new models will go on sale in February.

The company slashed prices in part to boost lackluster sales of the Leaf, which Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn predicted would jump 50% worldwide in 2012. Sales of the Leaf increased only 22% last year, and U.S. sales of the car were less than half Ghosn’s 20,000-unit goal.

Ghosn told reporters Monday that he hoped the price cut would boost sales at least 20%.

"Since we launched the Leaf in 2010, we've learned that people are very attracted to the advanced technology and other amenities, but they are also looking for a more affordable price point," Brian Carolin, Nissan's senior vice president of sales and marketing, told The Times last week.

The company says it's spending less on some parts for the 2013 model, and production of the Leaf for the U.S. market was recently moved from Japan to Tennessee. 

Ghosn wouldn’t say whether Nissan would lose money on the Leaf, but insisted the company would not abandon electric vehicle technology. “Zero emissions are here to stay,” he told reporters Monday. “I fundamentally believe it is the technology of the future.”

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