Andy Palmer‘s voice is one of those that you have to listen to from time to time, given his extensive knowledge of the automotive industry. He worked for Nissan from 1991 to 2014, then he ran Aston Martin, and right now he’s CEO and EVP of Switch, he’s also running Palmer Automotive, he’s a director of Optare, etc.
Only at Nissan did he climb very high, becoming the planning director and one of the architects of the Nissan LEAF, a model from which there were to be four derived models -and there was only one, the e-NV200-. The executive believes that if Nissan had stuck to its electric vehicle program, the company’s share price would have been very different:
“For one reason or another Nissan did not stay on the electric car path, ” Palmer said yesterday at a conference held by Automotive News. “If they had, there was a plan to roll out electric cars. If they had followed him, they could have had a valuation not very different from that of Tesla, “ he finished. This should be nuanced a bit…
Shares of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NSANY) peaked at $27.1 in January 2006, plummeted during the 2008 crash, and did not break above $23 during the 2010s. That is to say, the company was worth about 45,450 million dollars at that time (today, a third). Until the hit of 2019, Tesla was not worth more than 75,000 million dollars. In 2021 Tesla reached almost 1.3 billion dollars of capitalization, at the peak of the bubble.
In other words: according to Andy Palmer, Nissan could have had a price similar to that of Tesla pre-2019, another scenario does not seem too realistic
Nissan did not stick to its plans in the face of uncertainty about the profitability of electric cars, so the pressure was lifted on the accelerator pedal. We can cite as a victim the Infiniti electric sedan, anticipated by the LE Concept at the 2012 New York Motor Show and which would become a reality in 2014.
As more than one will have realized, no such thing happened. It would have been based on the LEAF and incorporated wireless charging with piloted parking. In that short-term move, Nissan regained profitability. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Andy Palmer decided to leave Nissan and run Aston Martin in 2014. Nissan saw more of an immediate future for series hybrids, with the Note e-Power appearing in Japan in 2016, and the rest is history.
As a reminder, until 2019 the Nissan LEAF was the best-selling electric car in the world, but the Tesla Model 3 stole its wallet shortly after sales began. At the rate things are going, it will drop more places in history because its almost 600,000 units from 2010 to today is not such a difficult volume to reach.
Given the commercial performance of the Nissan Leaf, which in 2020 was about 500,000 units, its reasoning does not seem too solid, even if the sales forecasts for the electric compact, clearly overvalued by Nissan, had been met. By the time production of the Tesla Model 3 began, Nissan was out of business.