Sales have been up around the 2,000 per month mark for Nissan’s Leaf, and supply has been constrained in regions, but Nissan is waiting to analyze August’s sales climate before fully ramping up to build more.
In process already is hiring for a third shift at the Decherd, Tenn. motor assembly plant which trucks the motors up I-24 to the Smyrna plant about an hour and 10 minutes northwest. Lack of motors was described by Automotive News as a “critical pinch point” limiting production.
Also in consideration is whether to staff a second shift at the Smyrna battery factory which is next door to the assembly plant.
This info comes via Bill Krueger, Nissan Americas vice chairman and senior vice president for manufacturing, purchasing production engineering and supply chain management.
Krueger said next month after seeing August sales, Nissan will decide whether the second shift is needed.
“Sales needs to give us the green light, and we’ll decide in September,” said Krueger to Automotive News. “We want to know is this a spurt, or is this long-term?
Assembling a battery and finalizing it is quite a process and includes leaving the chemistry to “bake” for a month into a usable energy storage module ready to be fitted to a new Leaf.
Krueger added Nissan does not want to ramp up, then have to back down. So, if you see news in a month or so that Leaf production is being increased, this also will mean senior management believes sales will continue to increase.
“We want to see that it’s sustainable. You don’t want to end up with a bunch of cars out there that you can’t sell,” said Krueger.