The Nissan Ariya has been a long time coming, and far from trouble-free, per this new report.
Even though it first debuted way back in the summer of 2020, the Nissan Ariya crossover still hasn’t made it to customers. Now, a new Reuters report sheds some light on the automaker’s challenges bringing its all-new EV to market. According to sources close to the matter, problems have slowed its production line by at least one-third from what was originally planned. The shortfall, as a result, put the Ariya behind schedule, as well as Nissan’s electric transformation.
The Ariya was supposed to hit dealers and customers’ driveways in 2021.
Specifically, its Tochigi plant in Japan has issues with its “intelligent factory” manufacturing system. Nissan designed the setup to allow production of battery-electric cars, hybrids and internal combustion vehicles simultaneously, on the same line. Implementation, however, has been an “extremely, extremely high challenge,” per one Reuters source. The paint line has also been problematic, according to the report.
After a Chinese electronic component supplier suffered a fire in January, that company had to scramble to shift production to a second plant in an effort to “recover production”. In addition to disruptions affecting the industry over the past couple years, including semiconductor shortages and supply chain disruptions, the Ariya has yet to reach full production.
Nevertheless, the automaker told reporters it is making “a full and diligent effort” to ramp up manufacturing at the plant and get vehicles out to waiting customers. It did not specify the exact production targets or current output at the moment.
Still more EVs on the horizon, but when?
While it’s had the Leaf in its lineup for over a decade, the Ariya represents the next chapter in Nissan’s electrification strategy. It’s just the first of 19 all-electric models the automaker plans to roll out by 2030, though it’s unclear exactly how the launch cadence will work out at this stage.
Nissan Motor’s credit rating also recently faced a downgrade to “junk” status by S&P Global last week. Ongoing inflation woes, coupled with these reported production issues and lower-than-expected sales volumes create serious headwinds for the company moving forward.
According to the close sources in the report, Nissan planned to build 400 Ariyas a day, right around 100,000 examples per year. Forecasting pegs the Tochigi plant far short of that goal, with planning notes mentioning production of 6,900 vehicles in March. From there, it may build as many as 5,200 Ariyas in April and 5,400 in May.
Provided you are soon able to get your hands on one, the 2023 Nissan Ariya starts at around $43,000. That makes it a reasonable alternative to something like a Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E. However, because of its final assembly overseas, the Ariya is only eligible for the $7,500 EV tax credit when leased through Nissan’s finance arm.
We are driving the new Ariya again soon, so stay tuned for more updates!