Nissan Motor Co on Wednesday unveiled the Ariya – an electric SUV and its first all-new global model in five years – hoping it will symbolise its road to recovery after more than a year of scandal and a precipitous decline into earnings losses.
But initial sales plans for the Ariya are modest, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, an indication that the vehicle will do little to lift Nissan’s bottom line.
Featuring Nissan’s latest self-driving technologies, the Ariya has a driving range comparable to Tesla models and will sell from around 5 million yen ($47,000). That makes it more upscale than the X-Trail SUV, Nissan’s top-selling global model known as the Rogue in North America.
“We were under orders from management not to make any compromises with this model as it represents where the company stands today and will lead to the Nissan of the future,” Hikaru Nakajima, Ariya’s chief engineer told reporters this week.
In a market dominated by Tesla Inc and amid increasing competition from other automakers launching and planning their own electric SUVs, Nissan plans to sell just 30,000 for the model’s first full year of global sales, two sources said.
Sales of the Ariya will begin in Japan from mid-2021. Sales in the United States, Europe and China will come later but Nissan has not disclosed a timeline.
A third person said the automaker plans to produce 40,000 units in Japan in 2021, eventually ramping up annual production to 100,000, adding that it also plans to build the model in China.