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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Orders for Nissan Leaf Approach 4,000 in Japan

Nissan Motor Co. on Thursday revealed that it had received preorders for its new Leaf electric car totaling 3,750 since April 1.

The company began accepting orders for its new electric-only model on April 1, and had set a target of selling 6,000 units by the end of fiscal 2010 on March 31, 2011.

The car will be released in the United States, Europe and Japan in December this year, and marks a second phase in more environmentally friendly automaking.

The car will be the first one to run only on electricity since General Motors cancelled the production of its EV1 in 2003, and is likely to go into direct competition with hybrid cars, such as Toyota's Prius, which are powered on gas and electricity.

The car is set to cost around 3.76 million yen in Japan and 32, 000 dollars in the United States, and Nissan has said that it expects the model to be cheaper to buy and to run than the best- selling Toyota Prius.

Automakers have in recent years seen a boom in demand for autos that are less damaging to the environment, which has led to an increase in mergers between major companies in an attempt to lower the high costs associated with the research and development process for fuel-efficient and "clean" vehicles.

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