Strong yen prompts Nissan to move production out of Japan

Even as the yen softens against the US dollar, it remains a "real headwind" for the growth of Japan-based carmakers, according to Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn.

With the "yen (at) 82 from 76 ... I don't call it a retreat; it is still a huge headwind for all the Japanese exporters," Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Alliance's chief executive, told a press briefing at the 2012 New York International Auto Show yesterday.

Many of those Japanese companies were "moving production out of Japan," Ghosn said.

Nissan is in the process of moving production of its Leaf electric car to the US for the market there, which would help cut costs, Ghosn explained.

"The consumer should see the benefit of this," he said. He noted that plans to have battery production start in Tennessee in August were under way. These would be followed by the cars. Production meant for the European market would be based in Britain.

"We didn't go very aggressively for the promotion of the Leaf," he said, partly as it had not been sold nationwide in the US. "But the car will be available nationwide in July."

The company is hoping to increase US sales to 20,000 units.