Nissan is postponing the market launch of its new electric model Ariya by several months due to the ongoing chip shortage. The Japanese domestic market is to be served first, so an export to Europe in 2021 seems rather unlikely.
When the Ariya was first unveiled in July last year, Nissan had announced that it would be on the market in mid-2021. Now the company announced that only a limited edition of the Ariya will be available for launch in Japan from “this winter”, for which pre-orders are now opening there. Reservations for the Ariya in Europe, the USA and China will be possible “later this year”. Nissan does not reveal when exactly deliveries to export markets are to start.
Even in Japan, customers have only a limited supply available: The special model, which can now be reserved, is only offered with the small battery and one engine. The 160 kW model has a range of 360 kilometres with the 63 kWh battery. The variant with a larger battery (87 kWh and then 178 kW output) as well as the all-wheel drive models are not yet available, they are to come at a later date. Incidentally, the entry-level model called B6 costs 6.6 million yen in Japan before subsidies, the equivalent of 49,450 euros.
“One year ago, we made our announcement we were targeting the middle of this year, but after that, Covid-19 has lingered longer than we expected and there is the issue of semiconductor shortages,” Nissan manager Asako Hoshino told Bloomberg. According to the report, Nissan expects the semiconductor shortage to affect production of 500,000 cars in the fiscal year (usually ending in March for Japanese companies).
That Nissan has chosen to start with the simplest model rather than the top-of-the-line four-wheeler in the face of the chip shortage is likely due precisely to the lack of semiconductors: The smaller battery with fewer modules requires fewer electronics, and in addition, only one power electronics unit needs to be installed with a motor. Nissan does not want to save on semiconductors in other areas: The first Ariya will also have ProPilot 2.0 and the remote parking function.
For the Ariya, Hoshino says Nissan expects “tens of thousands of sales” in its first year, with Europe in particular contributing to sales figures. However, the Nissan manager did not give an exact breakdown and targets for Japan, the USA and China.