Nissan Dealers in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle Selling LEAFs at Unbelievable Rate; Request Additional Supply

12 months ago by Eric Loveday 30

2013 Nissan LEAF

2013 Nissan LEAF

In March, sales of the Nissan LEAF soared to a record high of 2,236 units.  It’s believed that Nissan’s $6,400 price cut on the LEAF, coupled with the fact that its now US-built, led to that high-water mark.  The story in April was similar, with sales of the LEAF checking in at 1,936 units.

The Road to Success is Not So Long Anymore

The Road to Success is Not So Long Anymore

So, the LEAF is relatively hot at the nationwide level, but there are pockets of areas in the US that are demanding even more LEAFs, despite the significant increase in sales.

Take, for example, San Francisco.   Dealers there report that the LEAF trails only the Nissan Altima as the automakers top-selling vehicle in the city.

Then there’s Portland, where the LEAF was Nissan’s number one selling vehicle in March.

And there’s Seattle, too.  In Seattle, Nissan dealers have been selling LEAFs at such a high rate that several have reportedly asked for additional supply and have contacted Nissan to inquire about  running a LEAF-led sales event.

Nissan, however, turned down that request as it says its factory in Smyrna, TN is not yet cranking out enough LEAFs to support such an event, according to Erik Gottfried, newly appointed LEAF sales and marketing director.

What sort of volumes are we talking about here?  Well, according to some dealerships, LEAF sales exceed 100 units per month, or roughly 4 to 5 LEAFs sold per selling day.

That’s a significant number in our opinion.  Next, we like to see Nissan focus on moving LEAFs in areas of the country not located on the West Coast.

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30 responses to "Nissan Dealers in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle Selling LEAFs at Unbelievable Rate; Request Additional Supply"

  1. Mike says:

    “Next, we like to sell Nissan focus on moving LEAFs in areas of the country not located on the West Coast.”

    Please explain? Do you mean “we like to tell Nissan to focus on moving LEAFs…”

    1. Jay Cole says:

      I think that was a writing snafu that got past editing, “sell” = “see”

      1. kdawg says:

        So you’re saying they should *branch* out?

        (sorry, it’s been a long day)

  2. David Murray says:

    That is really awesome. I think those cities have reached a critical mass. Enough people own them and talk about them that it convinces other people to buy one. Plus they have more charging infrastructure than most of the rest of the country. Add to it, they don’t have a lot of people in those cities that listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Plus they pay more for gas in those cities. So it makes sense. I hope the trend continues. It is frustrating living in Ft.Worth where I can go for a month without seeing another plug-in car on the road.

    1. Vakarian Sincasa says:

      ” they don’t have a lot of people in those cities that listen ”

      How does not listening make someone more informed ? Being ignorant isn’t the best way to learn things .

      Also , it’s John Broder from the NY Times that has been the number one critic on EV’s .

  3. MTN Ranger says:

    Imagine how well Nissan’s sales would be if they took the Leaf’s EV drivetrain and put it in the Altima and Murano. Better looks and capacity would do wonders.

    1. Brian says:

      Agreed. In my mind, the Altima is one of the best-looking cars in its class (mid-sized sedan) and the Leaf is one of the WORST looking car in its class (compact hatchback). It amazes me that these two cars came from the same company.

      1. shaun says:

        Each to their own, I really like the look of the LEAF and probably wouldn’t have bought it as an Altima version for practical reasons.
        Now talk about ugly vehicles, didn’t Nissan make some convertible Muranos?

        1. Brian says:

          Fair enough, I know taste is highly subjective. But when my brother parks his Mazda 3 hatchback next to my Leaf, I want to cry. The Ford Focus hatchback is also a nice looking car.

          Also, to be completely honest, I would definitely hesitate to buy an Altima version because it cannot rival the utility of a hatchback.

    2. kdawg says:

      For me, put it in a 370Z

      1. MTN Ranger says:

        If you are going to do that, I’ll have GM make a Voltec Camaro. :-)

  4. Gene says:

    There sure aren’t many 2013 Leafs moving through the Northeast. There essentially weren’t any on Long Island in March & April from what I’ve heard (and Long Island has a population approaching 8 million people, or ~3 million if you exclude the NYC boroughs, which is still larger than several states’ populations despite its small area).

    1. Brian says:

      True. Plus, at only 128 miles long, it’s hard to run out of range with a Leaf. It’s also home to one of only two publicly-available quick chargers in NYS (the other being in Manhattan).

      1. Gene says:

        @Brian: where is the one on Long Island?!? This is news for me

        1. Brian says:

          The quick charger is on the geographic Long Island, not the demographic Long Island. The address is: 5820 Francis Lewis Boulevard, Flushing, NY (i.e. Queens). It’s listed on plugshare.com, and has been confirmed to work.

          Interestingly another fellow named Gene commented that the quick charger doesn’t work with a Focus Electric (duh!)

          1. Gene says:

            Heh…wasn’t me.

            Thanks for the pointer! This is a relatively convenient location for a number of trips.

    2. SuperG says:

      They appear to be moving well in DC, too. Probably not West Coast well. They play Leaf ads during both Capitals and Nationals TV broadcasts as well as promotional spots on WAMU (NPR). I’ve seen several new ones the last few weeks including two other families at my kids’ school.

      I prefer my Volt to the Leaf, both practically and aesthetically, but if the price drop had occurred before I bought my Volt, it might have been compelling enough to change my mind.

  5. kdawg says:

    This will be interesting when there are more affordable EV’s in California (Spark EV, Fiat 500e)

    1. Dave R says:

      Neither of those have the utility or practicality of the LEAF, plus the LEAF has a lower base price.

      If history shows, many people of environmentally friendly vehicles are also very practical and logical in their vehicle purchases.

      I doubt that either of those cars will get anywhere close to LEAF volume.

      1. kdawg says:

        How do you know what the price of the Spark EV?

        Define utility/practicality.

        I think a bigger range and liquid cooling would sway a percentage of buyers. Esp. in the warm climates where the Leaf has struggled.

        1. Tony Williams says:

          The LEAF range, according to EPA, is 84 miles at 100% charge. The window sticker of 75 miles is an average of 80% and 100% range. The Spark EV is EPA rated at 82 miles.

          It’s physically a smaller car with potentially a bigger price (rumored at $25k after $7500 fed tax credit). The base LEAF is $21,300, after the credit. The Spark EV has either a 20kWh or 21kWh battery, and LEAF has 24kWh.

          The Spark is physically smaller, both inside and out. Liquid battery cooling may be very important in Phoenix and Texas, but so far, GM has not announced plans to sell it there. I do not recommend purchasing a LEAF in such hot places…. Please lease only.

  6. shawn Marshall says:

    This Leaf news is really the first encouraging sign for EVs IMHO. Maybe, just maybe the Leaf is carving out a market niche.
    I may never get a Twizzy.

  7. bloggin says:

    An EV makes a great commuter car. Especially for those who already have an ICE vehicle for longer trips.

  8. LewG says:

    I’m seeing more and more on the roads of Atlanta, GA. Not uncommon to see 2 or more each time I go out. We have one dealer that aspires to be the biggest Leaf dealer in the US.

    1. kdawg says:

      I still don’t see Leafs here in Michigan. I’m wondering if the cold weather 1/2 range drops scare people off.

  9. JohnL says:

    We are noticing a lot more Leafs onthe road here in San Diego.

  10. Future Leaf Driver says:

    Drop the price by over $6,000 and it’s surprising that they’re selling like crazy??? —This should not be surprising, this should be expected!!!

    Hopefully other automakers will forward suit quickly or be left behind!

  11. JP says:

    I see about 10 leafs and anywhere from 2-4 Teslas per day here in Redmond, WA (Microsoft’s zip code) in the suburbs of Seattle. And any Taxi that is NOT a Prius, it’s run by natural gas.
    I know, on this coast we are way ahead. And that, plus the breathtaking natural beauty of the region, are the reasons I moved my family here.

  12. OneLeafTwoLeafRedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    There are two reasons LEAFs are selling madly on the west coast. One of course is the EV charger infrastructure – as a frequent business visitor to the bay area I see chargers all over the place (and EVs as well). The second is that there are a number of dealerships there that are committed to high quantity sales. Go to Boardwalk Nissan’s web site and you’ll see their standard discounted lease prices are phenomenal.

    The key is that the two trends feed on each other and once people get used to seeing EVs all over the place a critical mass develops. It’s as described in the classic book on high-tech marketing, “Crossing the Chasm”. When the critical mass develops the car will “cross the chasm” between the early adopters and the mainstream buyers. It seems like the LEAF may be close to doing that in the cities on the west coast – certainly in the bay area.

    By contrast, here in Colorado there are a fair number of LEAFs, but the lack of non-Walgreen charging stations and relatively weak dealer support isn’t helping. You really have to work to get a dealer to offer a price here that comes close to what the best bay area dealers are offering. And I can tell you from experience that the dealers here are still in the novice stage in terms of post-sales service and support.

    I don’t know how, but it would be best if Nissan could cajole their dealer network to start really promoting this car, even if it means taking lower profits on sales in the near term.

  13. GSP says:

    The significant DC fast charger network in the Pacific Northwest enables these sales. We need to get them installed across the nation.

    GSP