Does The Sales Rebirth Of The Nissan LEAF In Japan Forecast Big Things For The US?
For the most part, the reception of the Nissan LEAF was lukewarm at best in the United States. Past the initial “early adopters”, keen on being the first to be able to purchase an all electric car, new car buyers simply did not want to shell out the premium cost for the priviledge of cutting the gas station out of their lives.
The outgoing 2012 LEAF SV, started at $35,020; which was a good $10,000 higher than a comparable gas car.
Sales for the first 8 months of 2012 (before Nissan starting discounting old inventory by anywhere from $5,500 nationally to $9,775 regionally), averaged just 528 LEAFs sold per month. In other words, hideous failure.
US consumers could see the advantage of an electric car, but the range limitations, coupled with an extended pay-back period of 6 or 7 years, was just a leap too far to make for many.
Enter the 2013 Nissan LEAF S Model.
Both US-made and sourced, the entry level price (along with some features) was slashed to $28,800, and also available for lease from $199. This new pricing, dropped the 2013 Nissan LEAF pay-back period to about 3 years over it’s Nissan gas counterpart, the Versa (comparison here).
And although it is still to soon to judge the public’s reception of the 2013 LEAF with less than a full month’s worth of sales on the books, we can tell you that Nissan sold over 450 of the 2013 model in the last half of February, a remarkable feat considering hardly any inventory had even left their Smyrna, TN assembly facility to be sold during the month.
Then there is Japan.
In Japan, the LEAF has similarly been cut in price, down to 2.213 million yen after various subsidies (about $25,000USD), and where it has also just completed it first month of being available nationwide.
How well did the new LEAF sell? Nissan posted their 2nd best result of all-time of the EV, with 1,455 2013 LEAFs sold, a number that has only been surpassed once before…and that was during the vehicle’s first full month of availability in Japan in February of 2011.
So, will the Nissan LEAF’s resurgence in Japan translate to bigger and better results in the US? We think without a doubt it will. However, only time will tell if the days of strong electric vehicle sales are here to stay