Nissan Motor Co. announced Tuesday that it would be launching its new all-electric version of its popular vehicle Leaf across seven Asia-Pacific markets, and would explore the possibility of launching in two other markets, in its most recent push to increase sales of its electrified vehicles.
Vehicles with lower emissions are now the majority priority for the top automakers of the world as they are poised to unveil dozens of new hybrid gas-electric and battery electric models during the course of the upcoming five years.
Nissan, the No. 2 automaker in Japan, will launch this new model of the Leaf in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand over the next fiscal year. It will also be exploring the introduction of the vehicle in the Philippines and Indonesia.
The company has also explored the option of vehicles that are based on its gasoline hybrid “e-Power” technology into Southeast Asia
When he was asked, Yutaka Sanada, the regional head of Nissan, said the company was planning on entering the region and would find the right opportunity to announce concrete timing to enter the market of Southeast Asia with its “e-Power” technology.
He added that the technology would act as an excellent bridge to attract buyer to use electric vehicles since it gives them experience driving a vehicle that is electric powered, but does not require charging stations.
Electric cars at this time represent just a tiny portion of the overall Southeast Asia market, due to the lack of affordability and a poor charging infrastructure.
The market share in 2017 for electric and hybrid vehicles did not even reach 2% in Thailand, while it was only 0.4% in Indonesia in comparison to 27.3% in Japan.
Sanada said while there was not any immediate set plan to produce any electric vehicle for Southeast Asia, the automaker would consider manufacturing locally but depending upon the growth in the market.
He added that once the regional demand has size, to keep efficiency, local production would be considered, calling that normal for manufacturers.
He continued by saying the company had been discussing several ideas, including growth in the number of charging stations, with the Thailand government, which has been offering incentives to makers of cars to become localized.