Battery being fitted on the production line of the Leaf at Nissan's Sunderland plant. Credit Anna Gowthorpe_PA Archive_PA ImagesBattery being fitted on the production line of the Leaf at Nissan's Sunderland plant. Credit Anna Gowthorpe_PA Archive_PA Images


Nissan puts brakes on Leaf production in Sunderland as it looks to update model

  • Nissan Leaf bowing out in its current form at Sunderland
  • New version set to be launched after £3bn investment
  • Current stocks should last until end of year
  • Former COO Andy Palmer tells of disappointment over lack of continuity

Time 8:28 am, March 1, 2024

Nissan is bringing the curtain down on Sunderland production of the Leaf in its current form.

Its Wearside factory is understood to be finishing making the EV this week, according to the Sunderland Echo, after manufacturing 270,000 of them since 2013 and 13 years since Nissan brought out the first version in the UK.

The new Leaf will be launched alongside electric iterations of the Juke and Qashqai, following a £3bn investment by Nissan.

Current stocks of the Leaf should last until the end of this year and it’ll still be made in the US and Japan, although those models won’t be for sale here.

A Nissan spokesperson said: ‘After 13 years of great success, the current generation of Nissan Leaf, the world’s first mass-market 100% electric vehicle, is approaching the end of its life cycle in Europe.

‘In the UK, the Leaf remains on sale in 2024. With a range of great consumer offers and good supply at Nissan dealerships, it continues to be an affordable and accessible option for customers looking to switch to electric motoring.

‘Depending on the market’s inventory, European customers will be able to place their orders until vehicle stocks run out.

‘Nissan has already announced a new line-up of 100% electric vehicles for the European market to be produced by the Sunderland plant as part of our commitment to sustainability and electrification.’ CEO Ginny Buckley said: ‘The Nissan Leaf is a true electric superhero.

‘Lookswise, it might be Clark Kent to Tesla’s Superman, but this small electric hatchback has converted legions of drivers to the joys of battery-powered cars, saving billions of kilogrammes of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere along the way.

‘But the hard fact is that even superheroes start to show their age and the Leaf is now looking outdated compared to the latest models.’

She added that Nissan’s multi-billion investment would ‘see the Leaf make a comeback, when a new version will be manufactured in Sunderland alongside electric version of Nissan’s best-selling Qashqai and Juke models’.

The Nissan spokesperson said timings on the new models were yet to be confirmed.

Ex-Nissan chief operating officer Andy Palmer, who launched the original Leaf, has been left unimpressed though, with quoting him as saying: ‘In a market that has a long-term trajectory towards mass EV adoption, it’s disappointing to see that an innovator in the space hasn’t been able to invest in a way that allows continuity of production.’

Both the Qashqai and Juke will still be made in Sunderland.

More than 650,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide since it was launched in Japan in 2010.

Main image shows the battery being fitted on the production line of the Leaf at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/PA Images

This article was originally published at 8.28am on March 1, 2024 and amended at 11.54am following further information received from Nissan Motor (GB)

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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