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

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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