TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. plans to lease its Leaf electric vehicle in the United States at a monthly rate that rivals the cost of leasing a Honda Accord or Toyota Prius, a person familiar with the matter said.
Nissan plans to announce Japanese pricing of the five-seat hatchback by the end of the month, the person said. The source denied a Japanese media report that the Leaf would be priced between ¥3.5 million and ¥4 million (about $38,720 to $44,250), saying that wasn't affordable.
Nissan's plan in Japan is to sell the car and lease the lithium ion battery, which is expected to account for a large portion of the overall cost. But Nissan may adjust that strategy in the United States, where many customers are thought to want to lease both.
The Leaf, which will reach showrooms in select U.S. markets in December, is the centerpiece of Nissan's plan to take the lead in zero-emissions cars. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says the success of the Leaf will hang on making its price competitive with a similar car powered by gasoline.
On Wednesday, March 17, Japan's Mainichi newspaper reported that the sticker price in Japan could reach $44,000. After government-backed electric-vehicle incentives, the price could drop to less than $33,000.
The person familiar with Nissan's plans said the target price is lower.
"If we include the battery and the vehicle in a lease and take account of the incentives, we want the monthly lease to be comparable with that of the Honda Accord or Toyota Prius," the source said.
The person said that in the United States, the government incentive will be around $7,500.