Nissan to launch Leaf EV this year

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    NAJIMA

    Even with its decision to stop the assembly operations in the country and the government’s imposition of safeguards on imported vehicles that has put the industry’s future in disarray, Nissan Philippines Inc. is pushing through its plans to introduce within the year its electric vehicle model, the Nissan Leaf.

    NPI president and managing director Atsushi Najima in a press conference said with the introduction of the Leaf — even as government support on EVs is still under discussion — “the electric vehicle era will come to the Philippines. “

    The company targets individual customers that are tech-savvy and fleet accounts for companies which are conscious of the environment.

    But Najima said Nissan is “facing 2021 with guarded optimism,” adding making any projections on the market this year has been made more difficult by the safeguard measures.

    Announced last January 5 and implemented on January 23, the provisional duties of P70,000 per unit for sedans and P110,000 per unit of light commercial vehicles will take effect for 120 days, a period of study for the industry.

    “Those regulations can change tomorrow,” Najima said, noting this will affect its sourcing strategy for the medium to long-term.

    For the short term, he said, companies could increase their inventory but that they have to determine how they get synergy and scale in sourcing sites and match those with customers’ needs.

    “Those will require investments in the production sites,” Najima said.

    Depending on the final decision of the Tariff Commission whether or not the additional duties will be imposed later, Haima said “it’s a bit difficult to forecast as of now.”

    “This safeguard issue is not a one-company issue but an industry issue. We will continue to work with government and all stakeholders, suppliers and dealers to find a sweet spot,” Najima added.

    The top third selling brand, however, will continue to introduce innovative products and will expand its dealership while strengthening its customer service.

    The company unveiled the new Terra VL to the media yesterday.