TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. has booked 3,754 pre-orders for its Leaf electric vehicle in Japan -- or more than half its first-year sales target there -- in just three weeks, the automaker said today.
Nissan, which is banking on the zero-emissions sedan to catapult it into the lead in the green car race, began taking reservations for the Leaf in Japan on April 1. In Japan, no down payment or deposit is necessary to pre-order the Leaf.
Nissan aims to sell 6,000 Leafs in Japan during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011. Deliveries begin in Japan and the United States in December.
Although pre-orders in Europe have not started yet, the car goes on sale in there later this year. The first European markets to get the Leaf will be the UK, Ireland, Monaco, Portugal, Denmark and Spain.
Nissan has not stated a global sales goal.
The car may be green, but its buyers are gray. About 64 percent of the Japanese pre-orders were made by individuals, with the rest going to fleets, Nissan said. Drivers age 50 or older account for 61 percent of the total pre-orders. Drivers under 40 comprise just 15 percent.
U.S. Leaf shoppers began placing their pre-orders this week. Customers here must put down a refundable $99 deposit.
In the United States, the car has a $32,780 sticker price, but a $7,500 federal tax credit lowers that to $25,280.
Douglas A. Bolduc contributed to this report