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Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY) reported a massive 335% increase in sales of its hatchback electric car LEAF in U.S since the launch of the 2013 model in Mar 2013. LEAF has been Nissan’s bestselling car in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Alongside, the company also witnessed burgeoning demand for electric vehicles outside the traditional West Coast market, i.e., in “New Wave” markets across the country.

Nissan’s LEAF has won popularity in the West Coast due to state tax incentives, access to High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) access, and environmental consciousness. Moreover, people in the region started using electronic vehicles even before Nissan launched it for the masses.

The 2013 LEAF is similar to Nissan’s other vehicles like Altima and Maxima. It features 240V charging, which makes it two times faster than the previous model. Customers are opting for LEAF over the gasoline counterparts due to its efficient charging infrastructure.

Nissan expects incremental demand for electric vehicles in diverse markets and LEAF is expected to dominate the market share. With more than 75,000 LEAF electric cars on the road, Nissan emerged as the global leader in zero emission vehicles.

Nissan has witnessed 8.5% year-on-year growth in sales so far this year. The increase was driven by record-breaking U.S. monthly sales in 4 out of 7 months. The biggest contribution came from year-over-year increase in the sales of Nissan LEAF and a surge in the sales of the redesigned Pathfinder SUV.

Apart from the U.S., Nissan is also doing well in other parts of America.  The company witnessed 7.5% sales growth in Mexico in the first seven months of 2013. Moreover, it plans to open new manufacturing facilities in Aguascalientes, Mexico and Resende, Brazil.

Nissan Motor is one of the largest automakers in the world. The company, along with its subsidiaries, engages in the production and sale of automotive products, industrial machinery and marine equipment, primarily in Japan, North America, and Europe. It manufactures passenger cars, trucks, buses, forklifts, light commercial vehicles, power trains and parts, and also offers sales financing activities.

Nissan currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Other companies in the foreign automobile sector that are worth considering are Volkswagen AG (VLKAY), Peugeot S.A. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FUJHY). Fuji and Volkswagen carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Peugeot carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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