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Reports: Nissan to Sell Cheaper LEAF

By John Divine – Oct 22, 2012 at 12:40PM

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The all-electric vehicle hasn't been selling well.

Japanese automaker Nissan (NasdaqOTH: NSANY) will begin to market a cheaper version of its electric LEAF vehicle, according to reports. .

Automotive News reported earlier this month that Nissan had sold 5,200 Leafs in the U.S. through September, down from 7,200 in the year-ago period. Automotive News said the entry-level trim would be "positioned below the two higher-specification grades currently offered." It attributed the information to two people "familiar with the plan" whom it did not name.

In an article published Sunday, the Financial Times talked with Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer, who said customers have hesitated about buying the LEAF because of its range. The company also attributes slow sales partly to a strong yen, according to the Financial Times.

Nissan is gearing up to build LEAFs at plants in Smyrna, Tenn., and Sunderland, England.

The current 2012 LEAF model starts at $35,200 in the U.S., according to the company website, and gets 106 MPGe. MPGe stands for miles per gallon gasoline equivalent, and is used to measure energy efficiency for all-electric vehicles like the LEAF.

John Divine has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

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