The LEAF has fallen - Nissan stops EV production in the UK

Tom Barnard

29 Feb 2024

Nissan has confirmed that it has halted production of the LEAF electric car at its Sunderland factory after more than a decade and more than 270,000 cars built. It is due to be replaced by an all-new model, but we will have to wait until 2026 before it goes on sale.

A Nissan spokesperson said: “After 13 years of great success, the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market 100% electric vehicle, is approaching the end of its life cycle in Europe. Depending on the market’s inventory, European customers will be able to place their orders until vehicle stocks run out.

“Nissan has already announced a new line-up of 100% electric vehicles for the European market to be produced in Sunderland plant as part of our commitment to sustainability and electrification.”

Customers will still be able to buy a car from existing inventory, with stocks expected to last until the end of 2024. The LEAF will continue to be built in Japan and the US, but these cars will not be sold in the UK. 

The LEAF was a real pioneer for modern electric cars, with a usable range in a practical family hatchback. The first Japanese-built versions were launched in the UK in 2011 and were replaced by an improved UK-built model in 2013. The company invested around £420 million upgrading the Sunderland Plant to produce the new car.

More than 650,000 LEAFs have been sold globally, including the 270,000 built in Sunderland since 2013.

The car has been a big seller but has looked increasingly outdated next to newer electric rivals. It is still competitively priced however, costing from £28,495. 

The Sunderland factory, which is Britain’s biggest car plant, will continue to produce the Juke and Qashqai models and will start producing a new generation of EVs from 2026 as part of a £3 billion investment by the manufacturer.

Andy Palmer, former COO of Nissan and the driving force behind the original LEAF said: “In a market that has a long term trajectory towards mass EV adoption it’s disappointing to see that an innovator in the space hasn’t been able to invest in a way that allows continuity of production.”

Ginny Buckley, editor-in-chief of said: “The news that Nissan has stopped production of the world’s first mass market electric car in Sunderland may seem like a blow to the UK car industry, but the future of car making in the North East looks rosy thanks to a £3 billion pound investment from Nissan which will see the LEAF make a come back - along with new electric version of the best selling models Qashqai and Juke - all being manufactured in the region from 2026.

“The Nissan LEAF is a true electric superhero, looks wise it's Clark to Tesla’s Superman, but this small electric hatchback has converted legions of drivers to the joys of battery powered cars, saving billions of kilograms of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere."

The NMUK plant in Sunderland will undergo a £3bn transformation to prepare for new EVs

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