Nissan Ariya production has stalled at the company’s “Intelligent Factory” in Japan, as the high-tech manufacturing lines at the facility have been problematic, stalling the automaker’s potential comeback, which is now in jeopardy.
The Nissan Ariya is the company’s first new model in five years, and after being unveiled in 2020, there was an indication that the vehicle would reignite the company’s prowess as a major automaker.
However, a report from Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, said Nissan Ariya production is running behind schedule by at least one-third, which is preventing the vehicle from making its way to customers. Nissan has major plans to ignite its electrification plans, hoping to get 19 new EVs on the market by the decade’s end.
With Tesla already in the commanding lead of the sector, and other competitors like BYD, Rivian, Ford, and others offering competitive options, Nissan is falling further behind.
Ariya production relies on highly-automated manufacturing lines, a strategy that Tesla once used and made Elon Musk admit he underestimated the importance of humans.
Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018
Nissan’s “Intelligent Factory” manufacturing system has not been effective and has been “an extremely, extremely high challenge.”
Additionally, the paint line has become one of the biggest issues as problems have persisted with it.
Issues have also persisted outside of the factory itself, and suppliers have faced problems that have affected Ariya production. China-based supplier Wuxi Welnew Micro-Electronic had a fire in January at its factory where it builds components that Nissan uses. Output has been shifted to another facility to recover production volumes.
Nissan targeted Ariya production to 400 units per day, according to the report, which is more than 100,000 units per year. However, the issues at the factory have fallen short and, over the next two months, production is expected to fall short of the nearly 9,000 cars it expects to build in a 30-day period.
Output forecasts have been adjusted from the 6,900 vehicles it expected to produce this month, the 5,200 it planned to build in April, and the 5,400 it wanted to produce in May.
The Ariya was supposed to hit showrooms in 2021, but those plans were derailed as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the global chip shortage. Nissan pushed these plans back to 2022, but the company is still fighting to get units available.
Test units are present at some dealerships, including one in California, but the unit is not for sale.
The Ariya starts at $43,190, and will compete with all-electric crossovers like the Tesla Model Y, when it comes to market.
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