Currently reading: 2025 Nissan Leaf to become compact SUV for third generation
Pioneering EV to transform into Nissan's fifth electrified SUV

The new electric crossover model to be built at Nissan's Sunderland factory will be the replacement for the Nissan Leaf, the firm’s Europe boss, Guillaume Cartier, has confirmed.

Plans to build a new Nissan crossover in Sunderland as part of a huge £1 billion investment in the plant to secure its future were announced back in July. That model was expected to be the Leaf’s replacement, something confirmed today by Cartier. 

The Leaf replacement will therefore switch from a hatchback to a crossover bodystyle – and be based on the Renault -Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-EV platform – in around 2025. 

By then, Nissan’s core future model line-up will include five models, all of them electrified crossovers: the Nissan Juke, Nissan Qashqai, Nissan Ariya and Nissan X-Trail, plus the Leaf replacement.

The Japanese car maker will therefore not solely develop any more conventional models in Europe, such as saloons, hatchbacks and estates. However, it will turn to its Alliance partners, Mitsubishi and Renault, to source underpinnings for other segments, chiefly a small car to replace the Micra.

“We will look to the Alliance for a full line-up and powertrains,” said Cartier. “One topic that is still open is the entry [the Nissan Micra-sized replacement]. Key point is how we offer something from the Alliance with the Nissan brand.” He added that making it profitaby was the main issue, and that the car “absolutely” would be an EV.

21 Nissan micra n sport 2019 rt cornering front 0 0

The focus on electrification means that Nissan will not invest in internal combustion engine technology to make it EU7 emissions compliant, regulations due to come in Europe in the middle of the decade.

“Strategically, we bet on electrification,” said Cartier. “If we invest in EU7, the ballpark cost is about half the profit margin per car, around €2000 you would have to pass onto the customer. So we bet on EV, knowing it will decrease in cost.”


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Nissan expects 80% of its sales to be full EVs by 2030 and by 2025 will have electrified its entire range with either full EVs or its E-power hybrid option.

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida confirmed that the company will not be investing in hydrogen technology, instead choosing to focus on battery-electric vehicles. “Our competitors have many solutions for technology,” he said. “For us, we decided EVs. We used to have hydrogen technology at Nissan, and maybe in a different world, we still would. But so far, this [EVs] is our asset, and what we want to be on."

Uchida also confirmed that the future of sports cars at Nissan in Europe is still uncertain due to the needs of electrification. However, he said the company remains a supporter of Formula E and will continue in the championship because it is a great way of promoting Nissan’s wider electric ambitions. 

He responded to suggestions that Nissan has been slow to capitalise on the impact it had in the world of EVs with the launch of the Leaf a decade ago by saying that he will be revealing plans for Nissan’s next era of electric cars and electrification later in the autumn.

On the shortage of computer chips impacting production of cars, Uchida said that "step by step, it’s getting better” but that the crisis is far from over and it will rumble on for some time. The crisis has shown Nissan that it must "adapt to new ways of working with suppliers [and] make partnerships stronger”.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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yvesferrer 19 October 2021

Isn't it strange how so many 'design' images feature 'elongated, flatish' cars affubled with huge wheels? Tonka cars from adult designers?

No matter what 'category' the cars fall in, this appears to be a well-entrenched fashion that is hardly ever reflected in the finished product...

Now, let's hear all the predictable arguments about IP and such.

JayGee 19 October 2021

"The Leaf replacement will therefore switch from a hatchback to a crossover bodystyle"Well that's me out then. Hopefully somebody will still be building an actual car in this segment when the lease runs out on my current Leaf...

si73 19 October 2021
Does it have to become an SUV, can't they have an SUV alongside it? There goes another choice.