Nissan Credits Education For Bump in LEAF Sales; Chevy Says Pricing Boosted Volt

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 16

Educate the Public...Then They Will Buy

Educate the Public…Then They Will Buy

August was an astounding sales month for plug-in vehicles.

Price it Right and it Will Sell

Price it Right and it Will Sell

What was the driving force behind the record-setting sales of the two “oldest” plug-ins available in the US?

Well, the answer to that differs depending on who you ask.

For the Chevy Volt, it was pricing that pushed sales to the record-setting level of 3,351 units in August.  As Volt marketing director Cristi Landy, stated:

“We have been promoting the value proposition and our lease price which helped.  Overall, we think pricing for the plug-in segment now appears to be in the right spot.”

Nissan sees things differently, though.  Fred Diaz, Nissan’s US sales chief, says this in regards to the LEAF’s record sales volume in August:

“We’re very proud of that. Consumer acceptance of electric cars continues to increase month over month. The more and more we educate people about the value of an electric vehicle, they start to warm up.”

Pricing versus consumer acceptance and education.

Whatever the driving force may be, we’re still glad to see that sales of plug-in vehicles pushed past 11,000 units in the US in a single month.  August was a record-setter on so many levels.  let’s hope September brings more of the same.

Source: WSJ

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16 responses to "Nissan Credits Education For Bump in LEAF Sales; Chevy Says Pricing Boosted Volt"

  1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    I presume Cristi Landy means price net of tax credit.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      … because if she doesn’t, I think she’s completely mental or GM has no interest in volume plug-in sales.

      1. I don’t believe GM does, as evidenced so far of Spark EV sales only in two CARB states in extremely limited volume.

        They are interested, like most manufacturers, in meeting the CARB-ZEV credits needed to sell oil cars in CARB states.

        1. I’m referring to the Spark EV above, and I now see you said “plug in” vehicles,Manichaeism would include Volt.

        2. Taser54 says:

          Let’s be honest about the Spark EV; most potential Spark owners are waiting for the SAE combo DC fast charging port, available this fall.

          As for GM’s goals, sure, achieving zero EV credits is a goal, but that does not preclude expansion to other states. If it were only about credits, why would GM open an entire plant to manufacture EV motors in Maryland? It could have easily gone the Fiat or Honda route and built less than 1200 total EVs.

          Simply put, GM will expand the Spark EV to other states, it’s just being coy about the where and when.

          1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            3.3kW charger, no heat pump, 2 states.

            Why do you think the spec for the motor in the Spark matches that of the Volt? The Maryland factory will be used to make motors for the Volt, ELR and any other plug-ins that they have planned.

            The Spark does provide a handy platform in which to test that new motor, it’s very obviously a compliance vehicle. Compliance vehicles like the Spark EV, Fit EV and 500e really say little, especially with respect to profitable pricing or plans. Since the alternatives to manufacturing the vehicle are the purchase of credits or not selling in CA, and since ZEV requirements will be getting tougher, producing and selling a small volume at a loss seems to be “less unprofitable” and it’s very clear that the low pricing on these compliance vehicles has significantly been driven by Nissan’s aggressive price reductions on the Leaf.

  2. Lou Grinzo says:

    I agree completely with the point about the Leaf and customer education. I’ve had my Leaf not not quite 6 months, and I routinely run into people who are simply amazed that you can buy a car in the US that (gasp!) doesn’t have any gasoline engine at all and is (double gasp!) a “real car”.

    The most immediate hurdle to much broader adoption of EVs isn’t the hardware or even the price, it’s the wetware — as in what’s between the ears of potential customers. Once people get over their “range anxiety” and learn just a little about what life with an EV is like, including lower fuel and maintenance costs, much quieter ride, high fun-to-drive factor, etc., they’re much more open to buying one.

    As I’ve been saying on my blog for years, if you look at just the people in the US who have a garage with 120 or 240 wiring and own more than one car (and can therefore replace one or more of their gasoline vehicles with an EV and retain one gas car for long trips), you’re looking at a potential market of millions of vehicles. And that’s without installing a single public charging station.

    1. Assaf says:

      Haha, “wetware” – will surely use the term soon…

      Another big “wetware” task is to provide evidence to all those who are EV-skeptical from an environmental perspective, that EVs are “with the good guys” and an important asset in the struggle against global warming. There’s a lot of pushback on this front, and there are enough misleading/confused articles out there that cause many good people to doubt that.

    2. Assaf says:

      Lou, just read your latest amusing post about EV gawkers in Rochester… yes, in Seattle EVs are a far more common view – for any trip longer than 5 minutes you are almost certain to see at least one Leaf, and Tesla S’s are not a rare site either.

      But we still get the looks and the funny questions. So Nissan are right: at this point it’s education, education, education.

    3. io says:

      I also agree, Lou. I’m just as convinced that not only most people could own an EV or plug-in hybrid (the vast majority of households in the US have more than one vehicle, and 2/3 own their home), they would absolutely love driving one.

      The main obstacle today isn’t price, range or any other detail: it’s not knowing.

      First one would have to realize that EVs or PHVs exist, are practical etc. Even then, it takes guts to blow 25k$, 30k$ or more on, or commit to lease for years, a vehicle fitted with some newfangled tech, when apparently gasoline works just fine and/or so many other people remain happy enough with it.
      The short-term thinking so prevalent in the US certainly doesn’t help either.

      Perceptions change, but it takes time.

      Personal experience: among my friends, absolutely none would have considered (or even known about) an EV or plug-in a year ago. Now, two are looking at electrics as their next vehicle, one probably because of me, the other because of the large number of charging stations and quickly-increasing number of plug-ins now present in his employer’s parking lot.

      When colleagues or friends first learned I bought an EV, they thought I was nuts spending so much money on what they perceived was a toy, joked about bringing me a set of AA batteries so I could get back home, etc.
      Seeing me still ecstatic about the car over a year and 20kmiles later, they start asking more serious questions, and for some, the thought that they too just might like driving electric after all is slowly taking root.

      Nissan got it right, getting people more familiar with EVs is key. But, until plug-ins are seen a little everywhere, it’s probably also the most difficult.

  3. Ocean Railroader says:

    I really think that it’s a case of the EV’s getting on to the highway and people are able to see them in parking lots and on the road that is what is fueling the growth of EV’s. When the EV’s get common enough in a area people view them as a value car and soon want one which in a way speeds up demand for them. Now only if Nissan can raise the number of leafs being built then we can really get things moving.

  4. Bloggin says:

    When a product is being sold….the ‘education’ you get is marketing. Which is what all automakers do to sell whatever product they want consumers to buy.

    Besides, Nissan already used the same ‘discount’ concept earlier in the year, that GM is using now, when pushing the $6k price drop that boosted sales starting in March. So now all Nissan has left is more marketing to push the Leaf.

    And the ‘bump’ for August for the Leaf was only 195 more units than June. That’s just about 4 more cars per state.

    Looking at the sales numbers for plug-in vehicles, the ‘boost’ is with plug-in hybrids. Which is also where the growth market is today.

    1. Assaf says:

      Wow Bloggin,

      you made about 5 simple statements in your short comment, most of them completely wrong except 1 or 2 that are partially right.

      Congratulations!…

  5. Taser54 says:

    Couple things that prevent me from purchasing an EV- range and rate of charge.

    Wait, three things prevent me from purchasing an EV- range, rate of charge, and availability of fast chargers on the East coast.

    Err, four things (Spanish Inquisition) prevent me from purchasing an EV- range, rate of charge, availability of fast chargers on the East coast, and lack of a CUV.

    1. Assaf says:

      The Chevy Volt is also an EV. You can go all-electric on it during your daily routine (38 miles range on the 2013, 41 miles on the 2014), and then drive it on the gas tank for road trips.

      How many concerns have you got about the Volt? Hurry up while deciding, the discounted 2013 are getting sold out fast 🙂

  6. Loboc says:

    There was an informational LEAF ad on drive radio this morning in DFW. I see more LEAFs and more ads for LEAF than any other hybrid or plug-in here.