A futuristic second-generation Leaf electric vehicle that just rolled off the line in Yokosuka, Japan, was also the 150 millionth vehicle produced by Nissan Motor Co. since the company's start in 1933. Nissan called the moment a milestone that links its past and future.
CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Chief Competitive Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi presided over an offline event for the car last week at the Oppama assembly plant south of Tokyo. The factory, one of three worldwide building the Leaf, is considered Nissan's mother plant for global EV production.
Saikawa said Leaf orders are already exceeding the company's projections to double sales of the outgoing version. That will keep Oppama humming at near capacity, Yamauchi said.
"This is sure proof that the Leaf connects our past with our future," Yamauchi said.
Hundreds of workers, sitting cross-legged on the spotless factory floor, were shown a melodramatic video. It chronicled Nissan's march to global prominence from humble roots as a wannabe automaker in an era when the average Japanese citizen couldn't even dream of owning a car.
It took Nissan 55 years to churn out its first 50 million vehicles. The next 50 million took only 18 years. But it catapulted from 100 million in 2006 to the 150 million mark in a lightning-fast 11 years.