Tesla Inc. is worth as much as the next nine most valuable automakers combined.
Nissan isn’t among those top 10. But it could have had a valuation similar to Tesla’s if it had stuck with its electrification program, former Nissan executive Andy Palmer said.
Palmer, now working with multiple electric startups, led the development of the Leaf, Nissan’s first full-electric car, which launched in 2010. The compact hatchback was regarded as the world’s first mass-produced full-electric car. Nissan has since fallen behind competitors in the electric race.
“For one reason or another Nissan did not remain on the electric track,” Palmer told the Automotive News Europe Congress in Prague last week. “If they had, there was a very clear rollout plan for [electric] cars. If they had followed that they could have had a valuation not dissimilar to Tesla.”
Nissan’s actions were likely a response to the high cost of the Leaf, Palmer said.
Nissan likely rolled back its electric ambitions because of concern over whether the future would be electric and when electric cars would become profitable, he said.
“Closing down the electric strategy improved the profitability of the company,” Palmer said.