Nissan Ariya Production Problems Are Not Over Yet

Electric Vehicles / 2 Comments

A number of issues, such as a lack of semiconductor chips, are causing issues.

Nissan's all-new and all-electric Ariya crossover is reportedly experiencing production problems caused by a lack of semiconductor chips, paint issues, and other components. According to Reuters, Ariya production is running around a third below planned output, the key reason why we're not seeing more examples on the road.

We learned in late January that Ariya sales were expected to be low this year, supposedly due to high battery material costs. Only 201 examples were sold in the US last year. Assuming this latest report is accurate, then it appears Nissan is having even greater production and supply issues than we first thought. This is a big deal and a significant problem for the Japanese automaker because it's losing momentum on a major new vehicle.

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Revealed in 2020, the Ariya is the first of 19 new EVs Nissan aims to launch by 2030. Without it being on dealership lots in the US and other vital markets such as Europe, Nissan is simply losing sales to rivals like Tesla, Ford, and Hyundai.

The Ariya production line in Tochigi, Japan is highly automated, often referred to as an "intelligent factory" production system. But the problem has been implementing the system so that it actually works as it should. It sounds quite complex due to its ability to manufacture vehicles with different types of powertrain technologies, including pure battery electrics like the Ariya, as well as hybrids and combustion-engined vehicles. They are all produced on the same assembly line. One individual familiar with the matter, who understandably wishes to remain anonymous, stated that the advanced paint line has been a continuous problem.

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Supplier issues also remain unresolved. For example, a fire at a Chinese supplier's factory in January has delayed shipments of a vital Ariya electronic component. That supplier has since shifted production to another plant but things are still not back on schedule.

"Nissan is making a full and diligent effort to fully regain production capacity at the plant," the company said in a statement. Inside sources further add Nissan has a production target of 400 Ariya per day, which translates to nearly 9,000 units monthly and over 100,000 annually. Output at that level is not expected to happen for the next two months, at least.

For March, Nissan predicts less than 6,900, 5,000 in April, and 5,400 in May. US dealers quit taking Ariya reservations last year because of production delays. This is understandably frustrating for them since the vehicle was initially scheduled to be in showrooms in 2021.

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