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Summary:

UPDATED So much for the plan to achieve world domination of zero-emission cars. Nissan Motor Co. is suspending its plan to roll out electric vehicles in Japan and the U.S. by 2010, and globally by 2012. The automaker announced today that its so-called GT 2012 plan […]

UPDATED So much for the plan to achieve world domination of zero-emission cars. Nissan Motor Co. is suspending its plan to roll out electric vehicles in Japan and the U.S. by 2010, and globally by 2012. The automaker announced today that its so-called GT 2012 plan will be put on hold so that it can focus on navigating the global economic downturn. Update: Nissan said it still plans to launch electric vehicles internationally by 2012, after an initial rollout in the U.S. and Japan in 2010.

Given the big plays Nissan has made recently to grab a share of the emerging electric vehicle market — including Renault-Nissan Alliance deals with Portland General Electric and Shai Agassi’s Better Place to build out EV infrastructure — the company’s new game plan signals a pullback across the industry.

But it’s not a total shutdown: Nissan still plans to launch an all-electric vehicle by 2012 (just one, rather than the full lineup it originally planned) despite plummeting worldwide demand, a global credit squeeze — and a net loss of ¥83.2 billion (about $904.2 million) last quarter. As the Wall Street Journal explains, the automaker is also hurting from a strengthening yen, since it cuts the value of overseas earnings and lowers margins on vehicles produced in Japan for international consumers.

Funds from the U.S. Department of Energy might help. In a first for Japan-based automakers, Nissan has joined the more than 70 companies — including startup Tesla Motors — seeking funds under the DOE loan program for manufacturing fuel-efficient and electric vehicles, Bloomberg reports.

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  1. Simon Sproule Monday, February 9, 2009

    If you can access the press release (Nissan takes further action amid global crisis) on our media website you will see that in fact, your story is inaccurate and misleading.

    The two relevant sections are as follows:

    1. In order to focus on recovery actions, our 2008-2012 midterm business plan, Nissan GT 2012, will be suspended, but commitments on quality and zero-emission vehicles will be retained.

    2. The product portfolio will be revised, including the cancellation of selected future programs. Nissan will launch an average of 10 all-new vehicles per year in the 2009-2012 period, including the company’s all-new, A-Platform entry-car lineup and a dedicated all-electric vehicle.

    Despite the global financial crisis and the actions we are taking to address this challenge, our electric vehicle program is maintained with no change from our original plan. We are still on track to launch our first dedicated all-new electric vehicle in 2010, starting in Japan and the US. This product will then be launched around the world in the 2011 and 2012 time period as we build up production of the vehicle and battery.

    Looking further ahead, we continue working on a range of different electric vehicles that will debut post-2012, exactly as we said last year.

    So, no change to any of our product plans for electric vehicles. Hope this helps you to understand our direction and intentions.

    Simon Sproule
    Global Communications
    Nissan Motor Company
    Tokyo, Japan

  2. Josie Garthwaite Monday, February 9, 2009

    @Simon – I had interpreted “a dedicated all-electric vehicle” to mean one EV model, so thank you for explaining that the company is still working on a full lineup. The post has been updated accordingly.

  3. No problem. I hope you will test drive the car when it arrives at your local Nissan dealer!

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