UK-Built 2013 Nissan Leaf To Sport Unique Europe-Only Styling

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Headlight - 2012 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL

Headlight - 2012 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL

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Let’s face it: Europeans and Americans have very different tastes in cars.  So much so, it is common for the same car to be subtly redesigned for each market. 

Now Colin Lawther, vice president of Nissan engineering in Europe, has announced that the European version of the 2013 Leaf will get a restyle to make it more appealing to European buyers. 

“We’ll fine tune the car for the European customer from a design point of view,” Lawther told Automotive News (subscription required).

2011 and 2012 model year Nissan Leafs have all been produced at one factory in Japan. But starting with the 2013 Leaf, things will change. 

Nissan’s Okayama facility will handle Leaf production for Asia and Australasia, the Nissan factory in Smyrna, Tennessee will handle North American cars, while Sunderland, U.K. will build European-market cars.

2012 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL Mirror

2012 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL Mirror

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It’s this decentralization of manufacture which makes it possible for each factory to make subtle differences to the Leaf to make it more appealing to the market in which it is sold. 

Although Nissan hasn’t detailed much about the changes, Lawther has said that improvements in range and a less-jerky acceleration will be featured.

Alongside that, we’d expect a heavier steering feel, as well as the already-mentioned 6.6-kilowatt charger and improved heating system.

Interestingly, the 2013 Nissan Leaf isn’t the first plug-in car to get a region-specific restyling. 

Nissan itself recently showed its Invitation concept for a Europe-only subcompact hatchback.

The 2012 Opel Ampera, which launches in the U.K. later this month, is essentially a 2012 Chevrolet Volt wearing restyled body panels to better suit it to European tastes. 

Even cars like the 2012 Ford Focus and 2012 Honda Civic have subtly different designs according to the market they are sold in. 

We’ll keep you posted of any more news about the 2013 Leaf as we get it, and make sure we keep track of those little differences between cars made for different markets.


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Comments (6)
  1. I'm sorry, but I am lost as to the substance of this story.

    So Nissan may improve the range and jerkiness of Euro-LEAFs? Wouldn't that be helpful to all LEAFs not just EURO-LEAFs.

    I don't really see here or in the linked article much more than saying the LEAF could, might, possibly be different.

  2. It seems no matter which way that ball bounces, America is going to get stuck with the ugly, the weak range, the unfit, and the grossly over priced. Why are all the affordable electrics stuck in the hatchback mode and look like clown cars? Are Americans really that artistically tasteless that they just love those ugly hatchbacks? Why aren't all the new ICE vehicles hatchbacks?

  3. @James: I'd like to propose a ban on the phrase "clown cars" in any further comments, OK? It's needlessly insulting. Any regular follower of GCR knows that you loathe, detest, despise, and abhor most electric-car designs. No more "clown car," OK?

  4. I think the Ampera is a better looking car than the Volt and isn't saddled with the terrible name. Likewise, I hope the Leaf gets a nice makeover... maybe a name change. But why do the Euros get the better cars? I don't know. Maybe because we get better versions of their TV shows?

  5. better versions of their TV shows ?? totally confused by that assumption Drew. Regarding styling it's subjective so there is always going to be a difference of opinion. Other cultures see things differently and this makes for a varied and interesting palette, its just sad that some cannot accept this and think its their way or no way. I do agree with James to a degree since i've seen cars exported to the states that have had their pure design ruined by being Americanised. Much the same as facelifted versions are sometimes.There is certainly enought variety today not to single out certain types for ridicule if it doesn't suit ones idea or needs, Everyone buys for different reasons.

  6. Not to be harsh, but the design differences between US Civic and Euro Civic aren't exactly subtle - at least not to my old eyes...

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