NISSAN is slashing the price of the Leaf as it prepares to begin production on Wearside.
The firm is cutting the cost of the all-electric family car by £2,500, with the first models set to roll off the Sunderland production line in the spring.
The change is part of a global effort to make the Leaf more affordable in its three key markets – Japan, Europe and the US.
The price cut means that including a Government incentive to encourage the take-up of electric cars, a new Leaf will now cost £23,490, or £239 a month.
“There is no doubt Nissan Leaf is a revolution and existing customers are passionate in their belief that zero-emission mobility is not the future, but is here now,” said Paul Willcox, senior vice-president of Nissan Europe.
“Nissan’s objective for Leaf has always been to bring zero-emission mobility within reach of the mass-market.
“Our price reduction underlines that commitment and with no price premium even more motorists will become believers.”
Although the Leaf is still more expensive than traditional internal combustion engine cars in its class, Nissan says the car boasts extremely low running costs, with a battery recharge costing a fraction of a tank of fuel.
It is also exempt from vehicle excise and company car benefit-in-kind tax.
Leaf was named World, European and Japanese Car of the Year when it was launched in 2011 and Nissan has so far sold about 50,000 worldwide.
The LEAF demonstrates that battery-powered cars can make a significant contribution to a world-wide reduction in vehicle emissions.
Nissan has already started building batteries for Leaf at its new £200million battery plant.
News that Wearside would produce the batteries to power the new generation of electric cars actually emerged before it was announced the Sunderland site would build the Leaf.