Malcolm Flynn | Apr 13, 2012

Australia will at last see a local launch for Nissan's electric Leaf in June, but plans are already underway for the next model.

Nissan has reportedly confirmed that the next generation Leaf, while still a few years away, will be more affordable and driven by a more capable and refined drivetrain.

Speaking with US industry paper Automotive News this week, Nissan Europe's Vice President of Engineering, Colin Lawther, added that the new model will offer styling more palatable to the European market.

"We'll fine-tune the car for the European customer, from a design point of view." Lawther said.

The Leaf is currently produced exclusively in Japan, where Australian-delivered models will also be manufactured.

The Leaf's production numbers and affordability will improve in the near future, Lawther said, thanks to the addition of two production lines at its Oppama Japan plant.

Euro-market Leaf cars will be built in Nissan’s Sunderland, England, plant from February 2013, and Lawther added that "making it in the UK will take about a third of the cost of the car out."

Nissan’s new Smyrna plant in Tennessee is gearing up to to build US-market Leafs from December this year.

The Leaf is currently selling below expectations, with just 1733 units in Europe so far in 2012, compared with an initial 20-25,000 unit target.

Keep an eye on TMR for the Leaf’s Australian launch in June, with a confirmed price of $51,500.

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