Nissan Leaf to hit Middle East markets in 2019, says regional GM

The Nissan Leaf, the world’s most popular electric vehicle, will likely be available in the certain Middle East markets, including the UAE, in 2019, according to Nissan Middle East general manager Jurgen Schmitz.

Speaking to Arabian Business on Tuesday, Schmitz said that Nissan’s regional plans call for the Leaf to be introduced “at least to a few selected markets in our region” over the course of the year.

“We know there are different maturities [in the region] in terms of acceptance of electric vehicles, and this is what we are currently analysing,” he said.

Nissan's current thinking targets the Gulf

To meet the evolving needs of today’s environmentally conscious consumer, automaker Nissan will launch the Leaf, the world’s most popular electric vehicle, in Dubai later this year. Kalyana Sivagnanam, head of Nissan Middle East, explains how it will conquer the region

In a January 2018 interview with Arabian Business, Kalyana Sivagnanam, the regional vice president for marketing and sales for Nissan Africa, Middle East and India and the president of Nissan Middle East, forecast that the Leaf would be seen in Middle East showrooms as early as Q3 of 2018.

On Tuesday, Schmitz said that he believed that UAE has significant advantages when it comes to the implementation of electric vehicle infrastructure, noting that he believes the country – particularly Dubai – has made significant strides in setting up the infrastructure necessary before electric vehicles are commonplace.

“The government here in Dubai, and also in Abu Dhabi, are really enforcing this,” he said. “There is already quite good infrastructure existing in Dubai.”

Nissan Middle East general manager Jurgen Schmitz

Schmitz added that, compared to the United States and other global markets for electric vehicles, distances in the UAE are smaller, which he believes makes the job of encouraging public acceptance of electric vehicles easier.

“The range, which in big countries is always a discussion, is not so much a discussion here,” he said.

“It’s impossible to drive 500 or 600 kilometers in this country in one day. This makes it a bit easier from an infrastructure perspective.”

Since being introduced in 2010, more than 320,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold around the world. The newest version of the Nissan Leaf was launched earlier in 2018.

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