The electric-powered Nissan Leaf's struggles to find buyers in the United States has been well covered; Nissan thinks it can still sell 20,000 this year, even though it's sales totaled 2,613 through May. Fortunately, there may be new market opportunities for the Leaf, thanks to a Missouri firm's brainstorm of building the first Leaf limousine. Styling, meet profiling.
Spotted by Electric Vehicle News, the conversion was handled by Imperial Coach Builders of Springfield, Mo., a professional limousine builder whose output generally trends toward the stretched Escalade/Hummer/Chrysler 300C range. One can only watch so many Hollywood awards ceremonies with stars arriving in hybrids and stumpy electric cars before wondering if there isn't a better way. As the video below shows, the conversion adds an extra set of seats and some amenities to the Leaf without changing its basic character, although I'm not sure Nissan wants to know how the builders extended the power connections between battery pack and motor.
Other news this morning:
Ghosn may step down from Nissan: Carlos Ghosn gets credit for engineering Nissan's survival in the 1990s, its partnership with Renault and generally making the combination one of the winners in the global auto game. It wouldn't be surprising if he stepped down after 13 years -- given he's got the fallback job of Renault CEO. (Bloomberg)
Hyundai runs short of cars for younger buyers: I love how Hyundai negs itself: "Man, we're really struggling, what with running short of cars for all these young kids flooding our dealerships." (Drive On/USA Today)
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