The Sunderland-built hatchback has notched up more than 10,000 UK sales since it was introduced in 2011. However, its global figure is still some way short of the initial projections from Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn.
A successor is already in the works and is likely to have a much-improved battery life as Nissan attempts to quell the range anxiety still suffered by many potential customers. The next Leaf is likely to stick to the current car’s format of a five-door hatchback on a bespoke platform. However, Nissan executive vice-president Trevor Mann believes there could be room to expand the Leaf sub-brand to include other bodystyles. “There could be more than one Leaf,” he said. “We’ve always said it needn’t be one car.
“We’ve got the NV200 electric, too, now, but obviously we’re still studying other opportunities. What we’ve got to do is to make sure the market is right. We want to make sure that when we do the next one or we expand the line-up, we’re really taking the market intelligence that we’re gathering and using it. With our customer base, we have an enormous amount of feedback that we can recycle into what we do in the future.”
Mann declined to comment on how Nissan could expand the Leaf range. However, the firm has enjoyed considerable success with its Juke and Qashqai crossovers, and this seems most likely to be the bodystyle chosen.
A higher-set seating position could also appeal to one particular sector of Leaf owners: older buyers who use their cars almost exclusively for local journeys. No timeframe has been given for the Leaf replacement, although Mann hinted that it could be different from the usual seven-year model cycle. “The product life could change slightly because it’s an EV,” he said.