Later this year, Nissan will start producing the 2013 all-electric Leaf at its Smyrna facility in Tennessee.
The first time the car has been made outside of Japan, the 2013 models will be made alongside some of Nissan’s other popular cars, including the 2013 Pathfinder, Altima, Maxima, Rogue and Infiniti JX Crossover.
But before it can start production in Smyrna, Nissan has had to make room for the all-electric hatch by moving production of two of its larger vehicles elsewhere.
Last week, the final Nissan Frontier and Xterra to be produced in Smyrna rolled off the production line.
From now on, the pickup and its SUV cousin will be made in Mississippi, while Smyrna turns it attentions to the eco-friendly Leaf.
Although the Leaf has only been on sale in the U.S. for around 20 months, Nissan has been preparing to manufacture the Leaf in the U.S. for some time. Nissan lithium-ion battery pack plant under construction, Smyrna, Tennessee, Jan 2011
Nissan lithium-ion battery pack plant under construction, Smyrna, Tennessee, Jan 2011Enlarge Photo
In fact, the Japanese firm has invested an estimated $1.6 billion in establishing the Smyrna facility as home for North American Leaf production, split between upgrading its existing production lines and building a brand-new battery factory.
Nissan has previously said the upgrades to its Smyrna facility, alongside the addition of a third shift for the first time in the plant’s history, will mean it could make upwards of 150,000 Leafs a year if demand dictates.
But with the news that Nissan has moved production of two of its gas-guzzlers elsewhere, one thing is certain.
The 2013 Nissan Leaf is coming...soon.