Nissan's electric comeback stalled by Ariya woes
STORY: The Ariya was going to drive Nissan's comeback charge in electric vehicles,
But it turns out problems have hit its expensive high-tech production line, and slowed delivery of the car.
That's according to four sources close to the matter.
The Ariya was unveiled three years ago to strong reviews, and was Nissan's first all-new global car in five years.
But the sources say production is running at least a third below plan.
That has kept the Ariya from being shipped to new customers.
Two sources said production faced problems with the highly automated 'intelligent factory' manufacturing system at one of its plants in Japan.
The 'intelligent factory' Ariya line was built with an initial investment of $243 million.
The system is supposed to allow Nissan to produce cars with different powertrains on the same line.
One source said implementation had proven "an extremely high challenge".
In a statement, Nissan said Ariya production had faced challenges.
It included semiconductor supply shortages, disruptions in component shipments and the factory's paint line.
Nissan said it was working to fully regain production capacity at the plant.
Now analysts say the shortfall is a lost chance to build on the positivity around the Ariya.
It was due to test demand for the first of 19 new EVs Nissan plans to roll out by 2030.
The setbacks have also hurt the Japanese automaker's plans for growth in electric car sales.
Nissan was an early pioneer in the EV market before Tesla raced ahead and dominated the sector.