Nissan CEO: LEAF Sales to Rise 20% in 2013 With Launch of Sub-$29,000 Version

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 16

At less than $30,000, the 2013 Nissan LEAF is the US' cheapest 5-seat electric vehicle.

During a roundtable discussion at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn let lose the highly anticipated info we’ve all been eagerly waiting for: official pricing for the 2013 Nissan LEAF.

But Ghosn didn’t stop there.

Nissan’s CEO discussed the automaker’s bullish electric vehicle sales targets, spoke of Nissan’s “passion” for the LEAF and threw out the term “arrogance,” which was used in the past to describe Ghosn’s over-the-top optimism for electric vehicles.

But there’s still more.

With the launch of the $28,800 S version of the 2013 Nissan LEAF, Ghosn predicts that sales will increase by at least 20 percent.  Quoting Ghosn:

Least expensive. Yes. But is it the most attractive?

“You can expect them to be up.  It would be fair to say that LEAF should post at least a 20 increase.”

Nisan sold only 9,819 LEAFs in 2012, so a 20-percent increase would push sales over the 10,000-unit mark, but not by a significant amount and would still leave the LEAF short of matching expected sales of the Chevy Volt.

Ghosn continues to cited a limited charging infrastructure as a reason for lower-than-anticipated sales of the electric LEAF, but most owners charge only at home, so we question Ghosn’s reasoning.

However, if word of Nissan producing the LEAF in the US spreads to the general public, then we believe sales could increase significantly more than even Ghosn predicts.

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16 responses to "Nissan CEO: LEAF Sales to Rise 20% in 2013 With Launch of Sub-$29,000 Version"

  1. GSP says:

    I think Nissian sold 9819 Leafs in the US alone.

    Even though most charging is at home, for most people there are some days when they drive 100-200 mi, just for day trips. They NEED charging stations at their destinations ans lunch/dinner/rest stops. PHEVs are a pratical solution until EV range increases and charging is available at more locations.

    GSP

  2. David Murray says:

    While it didn’t stop me from buying, I’ll agree that lack of charging stations is holding some people back.

    1. Dave R says:

      By limited charging infrastructure, what Ghohn really means is limited range.

      More charging stations will help (especially quick chargers like the ones they plan to start deploying at dealers soon), but more range also limits the need for charging infrastructure.

      50-70 mile real world range just doesn’t cut it for most people. But increase that to 75-100 miles and you really open up the door for more sales.

      Multiple battery pack options, Nissan!

      1. Brian says:

        I agree 100% that Nissan should offer range options, much like Tesla did with their Model S.

        Even with double the range, there’s still another hurdle, and that’s education. Most people who don’t own a Leaf, Volt, etc, don’t realize that 75-100 miles is all you need for most of the time. The question about charging always comes up. What if you’re 40 miles away from home, and had an unplanned detour? I really think quick chargers are needed, even though I don’t believe they’ll be used all that much.

        So there you have it – a three-headed beast of range/charging/education. Nissan has started to address charging, but hasn’t touched much on the other two yet.

  3. Jay Cole says:

    20%?
    …seems like all the plug-in makers have learned to set the bar to hurdle a little lower than in the past


    Peter La Fleur: What’s our team motto?
    Owen: Aim low?

    1. Brian says:

      20% is still a dramatic improvement for any model, even if you’re starting from a low number. I think these improvements at these prices have what it takes to realize it. I just hope that they see improvement every year for a long time. When sales stagnate or decline, the model could end up on the chopping block.

  4. Mark H says:

    Yeah, I think all enthusiast will agree that we expect 20% from everyone this year. Nothing wrong with a safe answer. $28,800 is a great price but not earth moving. It is a fair price that people should find real value in. I personally like the steadiness in the industry. No panicking is a good thing. There are number of people waiting to see if both the technology and pricing are stable before they enter. Very goods signs of stability here.

  5. Brian says:

    “Ghosn continues to cited a limited charging infrastructure as a reason for lower-than-anticipated sales of the electric LEAF, but most owners charge only at home, so we question Ghosn’s reasoning.”

    It’s faulty logic to start with the typical use of current owners and project it to prospective buyers, especially given the fact that most of us don’t have access to significant charging infrastructure. For example, I only have access to an L2 network, and it costs $2.40/hr to charge. I will never use it unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Also, many people don’t have access to charging at work. I know of a few people with long commutes who would jump on a Leaf if they could charge at work.

  6. danpatgal says:

    I am really impressed with Nissan being able to offer the base model at 28,800. If that had been available last year, I would have purchased it over the iMiev. If it also has 10% more range (so EPA 80 miles) with more efficient heating then it’s really a great buy. It puts lots of pressure on Mitsubishi to lower prices or scrap the iMiev (in the US at least) and for the other small EV offerings (Fiat, Fit, Smart, and Spark) to reduce their prices similarly.

    What I don’t like is that, based on the model specs I read a few days ago, the base model does not come with the B mode, quick charge, or the 6.6kw charger. Depending on how expensive the “charge package” is to get these items, these omissions might cancel out the savings and look like a marketing trick.

    Do you have any idea how much the “charge package” will be?

    Or for that matter, the new EPA rated range?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      $1,300 for the charge package on the S to get to the 6.6 kW, it is standard on the SV. The bump to quick charging (with LED lights) is $1,630 on the SV, and is standard on the SL.

      Monroney sticker to find out range (epa) is not ready/has not been released, but I believe has to be released before Feb 4th.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Why didn’t I just post the options list rather than write all that out? I have no idea…busy day today with the NAIAS, I’m losing my mind.

        1. evnow says:

          Jay,

          Can you find out one thing for us ?

          Will SV/SL have rearview monitor as standard ?

    2. danpatgal says:

      Answered my own question, looks like the charge package will be $1300. Not bad.

  7. backstroke says:

    20% increase is pathetic. IMO they should be looking at 100% increase in 2013 bearing in mind how bad 2012 was on 2011. I’m expecting at least 20,000 units, and if economy picks up and price of oil goes up as expected, more than 25,000 on the year. Lets see how fast they ramp production at Smyrna.

  8. evnow says:

    “Ghosn continues to cited a limited charging infrastructure as a reason for lower-than-anticipated sales of the electric LEAF, but most owners charge only at home, so we question Ghosn’s reasoning.”

    Absolutely right – if we have the same density of chademo as Japan – Nissan can sell 10k cars a month.