Nissan LEAF launched in PH this year

Published January 29, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Nissan LEAF is set to foray in the Philippines this year with the Japanese carmaker going full blast on its education campaign to prepare Filipinos for the entry of the world’s first fully electric vehicle intended for the mass market.

 Atsushi Najima, Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) President and managing director, said at the Nissan Thanksgiving Press Conference, “Definitely we will introduce LEAF in this calendar year and hopefully soon.” Previously, Nissan communicated to launch LEAF in 2020 but it still has until March 2021 to end its fiscal year. But Najima said that the launch could spill over to 2021 fiscal year, but definitely within this calendar year.

Initially, NPI will be targeting “very tech savvy” individuals and the “more environment conscious” consumers. NPI will also look at some corporate clients.

According to Najima, the Philippine market is just similar with the other ASEAN markets in terms of EV development except for Singapore and Thailand. “Southeast Asia is still starting the EV and countries are of same stage of development,” he said noting that EVs are getting more attention of the market and this signals that the EV era is coming to the region, including the Philippines.

Najima said that NPI is also working with government for the grant of some support for EVs in the country.

In the meantime, NPI will pursue with activities to prepare the market for Leaf. “We want to make the introduction soon that is number one and support from government,” said Najima.

They will continue educating customers about the Nissan LEAF’s benefits to consumers and environment. He recalled that after holding their initial customer events in Makati and Alabang they still get lots of questions and lots of interests from potential customers, some of which were valid concerns while others were just misconceptions about EVs.

Thus, Najima called this forthcoming foray in the Philippines as a “trial stage for us.”

Najima cited though the company’s long history in the EV development.

Based on its website, Nissan launched its first electric vehicle in 1947, but none of them until the LEAF were truly created for mass production. The Nissan LEAF was created to bring sustainability to the masses through its revolutionary plug-in powertrain, and the compact five-door hatchback continues to do so with sales that have increased annually since its 2010 debut.

Sales of the Nissan LEAF began in Japan and the United States in December 2010 before the LEAF went on sale in Europe and Canada in 2011. The LEAF was a pioneer and quickly became the world’s best-selling all-electric car.

Initially all models sold in the US were produced at Nissan’s Oppama, Japan, facility, but in January 2013, production of the LEAF for commercial use in America was switched to the Smyrna, Tennessee, manufacturing plant with the US being the leading market.

The Nissan LEAF e+ was unveiled in 2019 by offering a new powertrain with additional power and range.