Nissan LEAF Hit Rock Bottom In Japan As Eyes Turn To 2016 LEAF

1 year ago by Mark Kane 34

Nissan LEAF sales in Japan – November 2015

Nissan LEAF sales in Japan – November 2015

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

Most consumers in Japan expect that the 2016 Nissan LEAF is a groundbreaking step forward compared to the 2015 – otherwise how we could explain the low sales result for November?

Nissan sold in Japan just 76 LEAFs.  That’s the worst result. Ever.

Even the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami didn’t cause such a sales drop in April 2011 (177), nor the sales tax raise in April (first month of new fiscal year).


In November 2015 sales fell by record high 92% year-over-year to 76


The fact that the 30 kWh version is incoming, is seemingly not lost on any Japanese consumers as the higher trim levels of the LEAF are almost exclusively sought.   The 2016 version also includes emergency brake system and lane departure warning (only in Japan).

The 2016 edition did indeed arrive in Japan in mid-December, however we are unsure how much inventory volume was actually filled in – we will have to wait for December’s results to be sure, but we are expecting some huge results for the ‘new’ LEAF very shortly as demand for the longer range car has been building up for several months now.

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34 responses to "Nissan LEAF Hit Rock Bottom In Japan As Eyes Turn To 2016 LEAF"

  1. Wow. Whatever delayed the 2016 getting out the door sure cost Nissan a bunch of money in Q4!

    1. Assaf says:

      Yup, it’s pretty embarrassing to see how a huge automaker like Nissan cannot properly ramp up production for a car they’re supposedly seeing as a flagship of sorts.

      I have a feeling they were nudged into announcing the 30kWh in September, by the months-long leaks that had already dampened 2015’s demand. Sans those leaks, they might have waited with the announcement a few more months.

      Regardless, this is no excuse.

      Nissan had three (3) plants with Leaf lines, but are out-ramped by Tesla’s single factory, despite Tesla devoting part of their line to the Model X now.

      It’s pretty clear they could sell quite a bit of 30kWh Leafs, way more than 24kWh Leafs, if they could make them. In fact, this has been pretty clear for over a year now.

    2. Note: launch of 2016 LEAF in Japan was ~3-4 weeks behind the U.S. availability vs being launched at the same time. I expect deliveries in Japan will pick back up in Jan 2016 after a Nov-Dec slowdown.

  2. kdawg says:

    How many do they have sitting on lots? Wonder if it would be in their interest to buy them back and retrofit with the larger packs. (probably not)

    1. Alan says:

      That’s the real story. If there’s a lot of the 2015 Leafs sitting around unsold – that means something (although, by offering a discount, they should be able to clear them.) If there are very few sitting on lots – well, duh. Some models of the 2016 Leaf still have the shorter range.

    2. Alan says:

      (by the way kdawg – are you a Kettering/GMI alumni? Your bulldog avatar looks like the college mascot. I graduated from there in 1990.)

    3. Mikael says:

      They seem to have a lot. My dad is looking at a lease for the 30 kWh version but it’s prices way too high and almost all lease offers we have looked at are still referring to the old 24 kWh version.

      The ICE it will be replacing will be able to run for a while more, but not long enough to go straight to a Model 3 so this will be their interim solution.

    4. In both US and Jspan, the LEAF Model S accounts for ~50% of deliveries.
      ie: there is minimal difference between 2015 & 2016 models for ~50% of new owners!

    5. kubel says:

      If Nissan announced backwards compatibility for the 30kWh pack, I would buy out my lease today. Residual value would also skyrocket.

      1. John says:

        Hear, hear!

      2. VFanRJ says:

        Ditto

  3. Scott Franco says:

    I have been a big Leaf booster, but we didn’t even consider a Leaf for our second EV lease. The car is at the high end of the cost scale.

    My own 2013 Leaf lease is up in 6 months, but it looks more and more like I won’t be back for another. The bolt emerges, and Nissan has not done anything to indicate that they will lead, or even stay up with, the next generation of EV introductions.

    When I got my 2013 lease, the Leaf was really the only option. Fiat was advertising a car they didn’t have, Ford was pushing a few token cars with total lack of interest, and virtually all other announcements were about future cars.

    Fast forward to today, and there are options for BEVs everywhere. This is a different market.

    1. David says:

      I agree, partly. I’ve also been a big LEAF advocate, talking up my 2013 SV locally and in communication with Nissan. When we leased it, Nissan was extremely eager to get people into EVs. Now they’ve switched the other way and are doing everything to stop people from getting an EV.
      Lease rates are insane, purchase price is much too high with 200 mile EVs coming out soon.
      The price to buy our almost 3 yr old lease is $20,000. They’ve actually raised the price by $1500 by reducing the discount they had over the summer.
      They no longer are allowing lease extensions.

      Outside of the CARB states, nothing much has shown up new in EV land. Its still the LEAF, i3 and Model S. i3 and model s are too expensive.

      We feel we are left with no choice but to jump ship and buy an ICE. Figure we’ll hold on to it for a few years and get one of the stabilized crop of 200+ mile EVs that should be out in 3 or so years.

      1. jelloslug says:

        When I turned in my ’13 it was much cheaper to get an i3 than another Leaf….

  4. enerc77 says:

    Can’t be only the 30 kwh battery pack. Japan is not a huge country and equiped with lots of CHAdeMO charger.
    I doubt range anxiety is a concern in big cities. I think it’s something else, not battery capacity.
    When they travel accross the city, they use their very fast train. So cars are only use for daily commute.
    Same here in Paris, I don’t need a 30 kWh. My 24 kWh is enough given the average trafic speed which is about 15 km/hour from 5 AM to 10 PM.

  5. JackDFW says:

    I just checked Nissan web site, 110 Leafs in 100 mi radius of DFW.

    Only one 2016 ( an SL ) all the rest are 2015’s with the 24 kwh battery.

    So Nissan is not doing a very good job of pumping out the 2016’s here in the US.

    1. Interesting data point from DFW, TX … 1 2016 SL LEAF. Suggest looking to regions where dealers better stock new 2016 inventory.

      Nationally the inventory for 2016’s now exceeds 2015 models:

      2016 LEAF: 1967
      • _S: 990
      • SV: 647
      • SL: 360

      2015 LEAF: 1388
      • _S: 766
      • SV: 505*
      • SL: 217*

      *717 30 kWh 2016 LEAF models available for purchase; ~1 in 5 LEAFs in U.S. Inventory.

      1. David says:

        How did you come up with 717 with 30kwh battery? From your numbers, SV: 647, SL: 360 they both have 30kwh batteries, total should be 1007.

        1. Just_Chris says:

          He added the 2015 numbers or he mislabeled the headings and confused his own post.

      2. Larry says:

        Excuse my confusion, but why not 1007 30kW 2016 models? Aren’t SL and SV both 30 kW?

  6. sven says:

    Could it be that in November potential Nissan Leaf buyers in Japan flocked to Toyota dealerships to order the 2016 Prius before it went on sale on December 9? I believe that in Japan, unlike the U.S., the vast majority of domestic cars are made to order. In Japan, demand for and sales of the new 2016 Prius have been off the hook.

  7. enerc77 says:

    I think it has to do with who buy cars…
    In Western Europe, the average buyer age is about 50. You read me correct 50!. I would guess Japan is more given it’s pyramid age.
    If I were above 60, I would buy a car that has a reputation of beeing reliable like the Prius. I do own one and I can say it has pretty amazing reliability.
    That said, my kids take the Leaf, never the Toyota Prius… But they don’t intend to buy a new car. They use what’s available (parent’s Leaf, U**R, B***CAR, public transportations, trains, planes.) They don’t intend to buy a car just because they don’t want to maintain it. They are just saying: cars are just too boring to maintain & refuel.
    I would guess it’s the same in Japan. Youngs uses what’s available on their phone apps, older buy reliable cars, and in between they drive used cars.
    If a car maker address the young market with connectivity,autonomous driving & fun, they will certainly make the difference. The young generation wants to see a movie why enroute in a quiet car they don’t have to maintain. Let’s see if this is something a car maker is looking at (Faraday Future?).

  8. Lad says:

    Nissan is not a EV leader. So far their only risk has been the limited range Leaf. Yes, they built three factories; however, those factories are ones they needed in order to supply ICE cars to the regions, not just EVs.

    They will follow Tesla just like the rest of the companies and wait to see how battery technology progresses and how the Tesla Model 3 is received.

    Nissan has announced a 200 mile Leaf for 2018…this gives them 2 years to change their mind. Their major product really has been smoke and vapor press releases and until they actually sell a 200 mile car, I wouldn’t believe anything they print. And, even if they do, judging by their record of exaggeration, their 200 mile car will be more like 150.
    I would not trust Nissan to make good decisions and policies for their EV customers.

    1. Cry little Tesla baby. Model S orders already collapsing.

      Renault-Nissan dominates the EV world and the future.

      1. Mikael says:

        “Renault-Nissan dominates the EV world and the future.”

        Haha… now you’re not even trying. Once upon a time you were at least creative in your trolling.

    2. Unplugged says:

      Odd. If “the other companies” are following Tesla’s Model 3, how do you explain the Bolt?

      1. sven says:

        Tesla is leading from behind. 😀

        1. Just_Chris says:

          +1 love it, when u read the internet in 10 years time it will tell you tesla invented the car and apple invented everything else…… It will probably also still be full if porn and explanations about how the most obviously true and factually based scientific theories are in fact nothing more than made up fairy tales designed to keep scientists in a job because making sh*t up is a really good way of keeping your job as a scientist!?

          1. Mikael says:

            It is already telling us that Elon Musk founded Tesla. History is often written by the winners.
            Not by the founders that Elon then decided to sponsor to get on-board the project. 😛

            1. Tech01x says:

              The Tesla Motors before Elon Musk was a very different effort than after Elon Musk was involved, and very importantly, didn’t have money. As a result, Musk can definitely be seen as a co-founder of the current Tesla Motors.

  9. Saint says:

    If it cost Nissan $6000 for a 30 kWh battery and the R & D has already been expensed for the 2011-2015 leaf then I do not believe Nissan can not deliver a 110 mi Leaf for under $30000. I also do not understand how you cannot deliver the 2016 in numbers that are reasonable. This is totally unacceptable.

  10. Colin says:

    About a week before Christmas (2015) I went to the only Leaf dealer in Brisbane AU. They only have one model here and the new price is AU$60,000+. They have two metallic red ones available for a bit under AU$40000. They are 2012 build but “will be 2016 plated” what ever that means.The dealer also said no more will be imported until 2017.

    Last week I drove a Tesla S with all the bells and whistles costing over AU$200,000. It also had a glass roof and I have a bald head so it was a bit uncomfortable. Otherwise an excellent experience. We are looking forward to the model 3 but were told the concept would be released this March and sales would begin in the US in 2017 and we should not expect delivery in Australia until four years later. What a bummer!