There, he said it.
Brad Tuttle at Time says the Nissan Leaf all-electric car is "increasingly looking like a flop" as it becomes clear consumers can't get past the car's limited range. Sales are way off last year's pace and trail those of competitors' high-profile hybrid models. Those trends are unlikely to force Nissan execs to make any drastic moves in the near term — too much pride and public money (in the form of a massive Energy Department loan) is on the line — but the long-term future of the Leaf matters big time to Middle Tennessee, and not just because Nissan Americas is headquartered here.
Starting late this year, the company's Smyrna factory will begin cranking out thousands of Leafs and battery packs — up to 150,000 per year if necessary. Those divisions of the factory complex will employ 1,300 people.
Ironically, shortly after we saw Tuttle's report, we received an email from a Nissan PR rep saying the company is "seeking to fill maintenance technician openings at its vehicle assembly and battery plants in Smyrna, Tenn., and at its vehicle assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn." Interested? Go here.