Nissan delays launch of Ariya flagship electric crossover due to chip shortage, COVID-19

TOKYO — Nissan plans to begin U.S. preorders for its new Ariya all-electric crossover this fall and expects sales to get a boost from an EV-friendly environment backed by the Biden administration.

The global launch was delayed about half a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global semiconductor shortage, said Executive Vice President Asako Hoshino, Nissan Motor Co.’s global chief for sales and marketing. Sales originally were to begin in mid-2021, but the first deliveries will be made in Japan only this winter. Hoshino did not offer a more detailed timeline.

U.S. and European deliveries are expected to follow Japan’s by about two months, she added.

Global sales will initially be limited to tens of thousands of vehicles, with Europe expected to be the biggest market, Hoshino said. Nissan has about 200,000 hand-raisers worldwide for the Ariya.

The Japanese automaker began taking online preorders in Japan on Jan. 4 for a special, limited-edition version for the domestic market only. Pricing starts at ¥6.6 million ($60,000) for the two-wheel-drive variant with the smaller 66-kilowatt-hour battery option. The sticker climbs to ¥7.9 million ($71,800) for the top-tier all-wheel-drive version with the bigger 91-kWh battery.

Pricing in other regions will be announced later.

The vehicle is highly anticipated by Nissan’s U.S. dealers, who have described it as a potential game-changer.

U.S. market conditions are improving for EVs, with a rush of new product from automakers, thanks partly to President Joe Biden entering the White House this year, Hoshino said.

“Since the new administration came to power in America, there has been an accelerated shift toward EVs,”

Hoshino said. “The new administration is now moving clearly toward carbon neutrality, and for that, for the time being, EVs have to be promoted.

“Social interest is now moving toward EVs in a very accelerated manner,” she said.

The Ariya, offered in two battery setups and a new awd setup called e-4ORCE, will be made at Nissan’s Tochigi assembly plant north of Tokyo, part of which has been converted into an “Intelligent Factory” with new technology geared toward electric vehicle production.

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