UK-Built 2013 Nissan LEAF to Feature Unique Styling

By · April 13, 2012

Nissan LEAF

The UK-built 2013 Nissan LEAF will feature unique exterior styling, added range and possibly even a lower price tag.

Nissan will give its UK-built 2013 LEAFs a bit of European design flair before it hits dealerships in Europe, according to Colin Lawther, vice-president of engineering at Nissan of Europe.

"We'll fine tune the car for the European customer from a design point of view," Lawther told Automotive News.

Automotive News also reports that the European version of the 2013 LEAF will feature improved range and re-calibrated electronics that will reportedly make the LEAF accelerate in a "less jerky" manner.

In February 2013, Nissan will begin manufacturing the LEAF at its facility in Sunderland, England. This will put a stop to Nissan of Europe importing LEAFs from Japan.

Building Europe-bound LEAFs in the UK instead of Japan will reduce costs. Lawther estimates that production costs will be slashed by one third. However, reduced costs don't mean that Nissan will automatically lower the price of the LEAF. The 2012 LEAF starts at 25,990 pounds ($41,477 US) in the UK. That price includes the UK's 5,000-pound Plug-in Car Grant.

Lawther told Automotive News that, "European content [of the LEAF] will be the high 90s in terms of percentage. The only major item imported from Japan will be the electric motor, although the company is considering building this in the UK, too."

The UK-built Nissan LEAF will only be sold in Europe.

Comments

· · 2 years ago

This is good news. I hope Nissan America will also have the option to spruce up the exterior of Leafs built here. Lets face it: while the Leaf is a well built car and the electric drive train is truly revolutionary, it's . . . well . . . kinda frumpy looking. The bulky rear panel lines, in particular, could stand a revision.

A few years ago, when they were in far better financial shape, Think brought out a 4-door hatchback EV concept, the OX, which should be an inspiration for any auto manufacturer on how to design a workaday vehicle that retains a practical format without losing too much in the way of sportiness . . .

· · 2 years ago

That picture of the OX reminds me of the i-MiEV

· · 2 years ago

I dunno, Brian, you might want to grab a second cup of coffee this morning and take another look. The i-MiEV is another one, like the Leaf, that has all sorts of awkward panel bumps and bulges. The headlight and front bumper treatment on the i-MiEV, in particular, has a rather unfortunate duck-billed platypus look to it. The OX, by contrast, seems to have a very smooth exterior, front to tail, and very squared-off look. Perhaps the only similarity I can see between the OX and the i-MiEV is the somewhat pronounced and raised rocker panels.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I own a Leaf and agree that this car needs a makeover. The front and rear of the car look like they were designed by different groups. The rear quarter panels and bumper are especially odd looking. It's only a small tweak that would improve the car's looks immensely. They could also make the glass area on the hatchback larger, like on the Volvo C30 to improve rearward visibility.
This car is an incredible car and needs looks to match its technology in order to sustain sales. People want to buy/drive good looking cars. Make the small changes Nissan - in the U.S. also.

· · 2 years ago

There is something mind boggling here. If the sole purpose of moving the Leaf production to the UK is lowering the price, then why are they moving to the super expansive labor cost UK rather than the much lower cost of Bulgaria or Poland for instance? Japanese cars are excellent because of the quality of Japanese workers, not only of Japanese engineering. Making them in the UK will change this, that’s a concern. Now if the idea behind building it in the UK is being central in Europe and sell it to the rest of Europe, why not go central in a place like Belgium, Germany or Slovenia, these at least are straight in the middle and already in the Euro zone. The only sense to put it in the UK is to perhaps reuse an old factory they already would have there, but for a new car like the Leaf, everything will be different enough as to justify a new plant, especially if it could be in Greece for ultra cheap.

· · 2 years ago

"Automotive News also reports that the European version of the 2013 LEAF will feature improved range and re-calibrated electronics that will reportedly make the LEAF accelerate in a "less jerky" manner."

Huh? The only way the LEAF could accelerate in a jerky manner would be if there's a "jerk" driving it!

I'd love to get improved range, but "jerky acceleration" simply doesn't describe the LEAF I drive and love. And +2 regarding a redesign to get rid of the funk factor.

· · 2 years ago

Anonymous said: "The front and rear of the car look like they were designed by different groups. The rear quarter panels and bumper are especially odd looking. It's only a small tweak that would improve the car's looks immensely. They could also make the glass area on the hatchback larger, like on the Volvo C30 to improve rearward visibility."

Precisely. I've talked to several Leaf owners, who, while generally liking their cars overall very much, are puzzled as to what was on the designer's minds when they drafted the rear deck. The rear fenders are enormous and then they transition into this relatively tiny hatchback door. The rear window is so tiny that you can't see out of it without removing at least one of the rear seat headrests. The "band aid" that was applied was to include a rear view camera, with a screen on the dash, for backing up. A better design back there with a little more glass would makes far more sense.

I've also found the Leaf to be an exceptionally smooth car when putting the pedal down, Bruce N., and I'm equally puzzled by jerky acceleration comments coming from British customers.

And, while I agree with your assessment regarding southern or eastern European factories being the most cost effective, Priusmaniac, I guess I don't understand what's wrong with retrofitting an existing factory to build a new car. Assuming there isn't a leaky roof, the structure is generally sound, that there's enough floor space and big enough doors to haul stuff in and drive finished cars out, what real difference would it make when it was built? The machinery inside will certainly all be new.

· · 2 years ago

@Benjamin - you caught me. I only had two cups of coffee that morning, not my usual half a pot :) It still reminds me of the i-MiEV. I understand the differences you point out, but to me they are both funky looking cars. Kind of like the Leaf - which I love DESPITE its looks, certainly not because of them.

@Bruce - when the Leaf is in D, my "Lead" foot has trouble not accelerating in a sudden -and often jerky- manner. Any EV has instant torque, and giving the driver full access to it can make it a jerky ride. I agree it's 100% in control of the driver (as opposed to my previous Civic which had a terrible automatic transmission). I do find it difficult to control - and it sounds like I'm not alone. For the sake of my 3-year-old son (who doesn't appreciate the sudden acceleration, even as he shouts READY-SET-GO!) I now drive in ECO 90% of the time.

· · 2 years ago

"Less Jerky" ? If that means slower, than Nooooo!
I don't consider the Leaf jerky at all. If anything, it's the brakes that are sometimes a bit jerky in the transition from re-gen to disk.

Granted, they may fine tune the map from how far down the pedal is to how much power you get. As long as foot on the floor means 100% power.

Personally, I like to be pulled back against the seat when I press the accelerator.

· · 2 years ago

Well, folks, we have Beef Jerky, Turkey Jerky and even Vegan Jerky.
So, can Leaf Jerky be far behind? . . .

· Olivier (not verified) · 2 years ago

I hope that Nissan will add front and rear sensors on the car.
I own and love the car, however I have noticed that could stand some sensors when backing up and moving forward.
In fact the car should slowly brake for driver at low speed when there is a solid objet in front or rear.
This would prevent LOW speed 1 - 3 MPH pedestrian accident moving forward.

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