New Edition Or Not, Nissan LEAF Sales Depressed In January For US

1 year ago by Jay Cole 44

New 30 kWh Nissan LEAF (and better warranty) To Arrest Falling US Sales In 2016?

New 30 kWh Nissan LEAF (and better warranty) To Arrest Falling US Sales In 2016?

2015 was mostly a year to forget for Nissan with the LEAF.  The first six months of 2015 showed decent results, but news of an upcoming 2016 edition with a 107 mile option last summer obliterated took the legs out from under the brand in the second half.

Nissan LEAF Sales In US Through 2015

Nissan LEAF Sales In US Through 2015

By the end of the year, 2016s had rolled out in a limited fashion in the US, but the damage was done, and the year was mostly a write-off.

For January, with slightly more EVs on dealer lots available to be sold, Nissan still sold just 755 LEAFs, which is off 29.4% compared to a year ago when 1,070 were sold.

The question now is, “can 2016 be a return to former glory?”; such as in 2013 and 2014 when the LEAF accounted for more than 1 out of every 5 plug-in sales in America?

We have serious doubts those numbers can ever be achieved again on a percentage basis, as the US plug-in market has mature and the depth of EV choices has deepened.

But perhaps a return to selling 20,000-25,000 copies is still possible ahead of the highly anticipated next generation LEAF debut in 2017.  Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is also on record from the NAIAS in Detroit, saying that 2016 will be a rebound year for LEAF sales.

Currently Nissan has about ~3,000 LEAFs in stock to be purchased in the US, ~2,200 of which are 2016s, about half of those are of the new longer range variety.  This level is probably appropriate for the poor performing winter EV sales months, however the inventory is not still spread evenly across the country by a long shot.

We should note, Nissan has only managed to get out about ~2,000 or so copies of the 30 kWh edition in total since its arrival late last year – so it hasn’t been the best launch so far to say the least.

Historically when Nissan was averaging 2,500 sales a month in 2014, the company had about ~5,000 units available for sale.

Historical Looks At Nissan LEAF Sales In The US - What Will The New 107 Mile Edition Net Nissan For Sales In 2016? We Think Somewhere Between 2015 and 2014 Is A Reasonable Expectation

Historical Looks At Nissan LEAF Sales In The US – What Will The New 107 Mile Edition Net Nissan For Sales In 2016? We Think Somewhere Between 2015 and 2014 Is A Reasonable Expectation

Separately from Nissan this month:

Ghosn From Detroit In January: No, I can't talk about the next gen LEAF. What is this huge picture behind me? Nothing.

Ghosn From Detroit In January: No, I can’t talk about the next gen LEAF. What is this huge picture behind me? Nothing.

*- Nissan announced that although its Sunderland, UK facility is not making the 30 kWh battery packs for the 2016 edition of the LEAF in Europe, it will produce the next-generation battery cells for the company

*- New York, Philadelphia and Santa Barbara were all added to Nissan’s “No Charge To Charge” program in January, bringing the total US cities participating to 26

*- Nissan, with partner Renault, says the two companies will launch 10 autonomous vehicles over the next 4 years, starting with the LEAF

*- the next generation LEAF IDS Concept (with 60 kWh battery) made its US debut in Detroit this month (full details, pics here)

*- Carlos Ghosn also took some time to put Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne in his place when it came to the Fiatsler boss’ take on electric cars

 

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44 responses to "New Edition Or Not, Nissan LEAF Sales Depressed In January For US"

  1. R.S says:

    Sorry, but I don’t see the current Leaf taking back the spot it has until the next gen. The 30kwh ones everybody was apparently waiting for since summer are there and there hasn’t been any sign of a boom effect. GM has destroyed the compact EV segment, for now.

    1. David Murray says:

      Actually, they aren’t there. I suspect that is still the problem. It appears only select areas have the 30kwh version or any 2016 models at all for that matter. I have constantly read complaints that people cannot find a 2016 at their local dealer, and that appears true for my local dealer as well.

      1. R.S says:

        Lets hope so… But I still guess that GMs Bolt holds lots of buyers off, at least the not 100% sure ones and that might be the biggest faction when it comes to EV customers.

  2. Benz says:

    Some People in the US will prefer to wait for the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

    1. bro1999 says:

      The Bolt has pretty much killed future sales of <100 mile BEVs. Model 3 specter has also been depressing sales I'm thinking.

      Other manufacturers need to step up to the 200+ mile plate or GTFO now.

      1. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

        I don’t think the Model 3 has killed that many sales since few people trust Tesla to come anywhere near their promised dates after the Model X shipped over 2 years late. I’d love to be surprised by Tesla and see Model 3’s available in early 2017, but won’t put off a car buying decision based on vaporwheels.

        However, the Bolt is a completely different story. Demos are available and have been tested by car reviewers. Having lived with limited-range LEAFs for over 3 years, I can’t see buying a 30 kWh LEAF now when I can get a Bolt for slightly more a year from now.

        It also helps that other manufacturers are hinting at medium range (200+ mile) EVs in 2017 or 2018. That is going to be the new standard. And Nissan is one of those manufacturers.

        Nissan is going to have to go to deep discounts, as they did at the end of 2012, if they want to start moving 2016 LEAFs this year.

      2. Sting777 says:

        I think the IDE has a lot of sex appeal, and a carbon body. It may be a smashing success in the market. The sooner out the better.

        Would be nice if it had a range extender option, like the i3.

  3. Ken says:

    The old life cycle used for ICE models can’t be used for EVs if an automaker wants to maintain or increase sales. The ICE life cycle is much too long for a type of vehicle evolving as fast as an EV. EVs are improving at rates similar to phones – you can’t try sell the same thing for 5 years and be successful.

    1. Sting777 says:

      LOL. Ford getting crushed by slow-or-no innovation rate.
      You hit it on the head.

      1. bro1999 says:

        To think Ford is going to release the updated Focus Electric with maybe 100 miles range….right around the same time the Bolt is released. Can you say dead on arrival?

        The 4.5 billion investment into electrified vehicles sounds nice….but Ford is getting killed in the EV field in the meantime.

  4. Alan says:

    I don’t think the price hike has helped with the 30 kWh battery Leaf either, yes it’s range has increased 25% but so has the overall price nearly and they must have by now reduced their battery costs somewhat.

    Under the circumstances, given the 200 mile bolt is supposedly out at the end of this year and the Model 3 in the distance, they might have to rethink the price if they want to maintain anywhere near their market share & uphold the EV brand.

    If they maintain the current price of the new 30 kWh Leaf, one has to wonder if this is not a ploy to then not increase the price significantly of the 60 kWh next gen for maximum effect ?

    1. bro1999 says:

      200+ mile Bolt EV for 37.5k…..or 107 mile Leaf for $34.2k.

      Even Joe Schmoe can do the math on that one.

      1. LEAF_n_PiP says:

        Except that you can’t actually buy the Bolt right now, and you don’t know the pricing of the Leaf when the Bolt finally arrives, so it’s not a direct comparison. It’s easy for Chevy to fill the media with the Bolt since it isn’t costing them sales (they don’t care to sell the Spark EV and the Volt only partially overlaps the sales).

        Nissan has no reason to show off their next Leaf until they’re ready to start selling it, and I can guarantee you it will arrive at the same time as the Bolt for a similar price. That being said, it makes sense that consumers will hold off purchases until they arrive at this point.

        Nissan was one year late to the game with the 30kWh battery. It would have sold well as a 2015 model at the end of 2014, it’s a bit late at this point. It’s only hopeful if they’ll allow 24kWh to 30kWh upgrades, but time will tell if they allow it and price it affordable.

        1. Michael says:

          The Bolt at this time is just a spoiler. Ghosn cannot even hint about a 200-mile range LEAF without cannibalizing 2016 sales, while GM is not under the same constraints.

          It reminds me of the Sega-Sony rivalry. To undermine the impact of the Sega Dreamcast, Sony provided advance publicity about its new version of the PlayStation2. In particular, it emphasized Playstation2’s
          technologically superiority to Dreamcast. Despite its lead in the new generation of machines, Dreamcast was always overshadowed by the hype and expectation that surrounded the forthcoming PlayStation2. (“Rivalry in Video Games” © 2002, Robert M. Grant)

        2. bro1999 says:

          I honestly think Nissan was caught off guard by the production Bolt announcement (revealing a concept is one thing….but production is totally different). Photos of a defeated-looking Carlos Ghosn checking out the Bolt EV at NAIAS gives support to that notion.

          I think Nissan was planning to release a Leaf 2.0 with base range between 150-180 miles, but now that the Bolt is pledging OVER 200 miles, they are probably scrambling to put together a Leaf option that gets over 200.

          I expect the cheapest Leaf 2.0 to have a sub-200 mile range, with a premium trim offering the 200+.

      2. SparkEV says:

        So true. However, I wonder if 30kWh Leaf price is reduced, how it’ll do. For example, $26K of SparkEV pricing? While Leaf is slower, it’s bigger and longer range could (would!) crush SparkEV. It might even affect sales of Corollas and Elantras, comparable cost and sized gas cars.

        1. LEAF_n_PiP says:

          It looks like the 2016 Leaf qualifies for $4000 cash back plus 72 months 0% financing, and another $2500 or so if you qualify for VPP. So a 30 kWH SV could be had for about $29k right now (not including federal tax credit or state rebates).

          Although everyone wants 200 miles+ for a BEV, I’m not certain everyone will be willing to pay a $8500 price premium for an extra 30kWh (assuming the $37.5k price point of the Bolt).

          1. Jay Cole says:

            Yes, you are right.

            The new deal for February is much better. I might pull the trigger on one myself (hard to find another 100+ EV while waiting on the next gen these days)…quoted out a base 30 kWh for 29 and change – on a lease it was ~$265 with ~$2,400ish at signing. That is a lot better than what could be had in the past. Hopefully, that will translate into better sales once they straighten out the inventory situation.

  5. Someone out there says:

    Of course it has everything to do with the Bolt. If GM had shown a 200 mile car but at a markedly higher price point then the LEAF could still have a market but at $30k, why buy a 100 mile LEAF when the 200 mile Bolt is the same-ish price? You would at least want to see the Bolt before making up your mind and since it’s supposed to be released this year, it makes sense to postpone your purchase. It is a major purchase after all.

  6. Aaron says:

    $1.50/gallon gas has NOTHING to do with this, I’m sure. /s

    1. Alan says:

      Spare a thought for us Brits,

      Prices are rock bottom at $7 a gallon with at least $5 of that tax !

    2. Sting777 says:

      EV’s coming on the market are technically superior to almost all ICE models. So, no.

  7. Paul says:

    I don’t know what the new Leaf is doing in Europe, but the Kia Soul EV, which has a 30 kW battery as well (27 kW usable), is doing well there, especially in Germany and Norway. It has more options included and is selling for a little less.

    So in Europe, where the Bolt has less impact since it is not officially said it will be sold there, the 30 kW Leaf has a concurrent in the here and the now with the Soul EV.

    1. Alex says:

      Soul was around 7000 sales in 2015, the Leaf over 43.000 so Kia has no interest.

  8. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    So January sales are typically depressed in the US because of the tax credit situation. Add in the Bolt factor and the fact that 2016 SL and SVs with the larger battery are very hard to find and experienced EV buyers are unlikely to buy a LEAF now. Throw in the low gas prices, as someone mentioned, and there will be fewer people who buy LEAFs just to save money.

    The long and short of it is that Nissan has a business problem. Let’s assume that they, too, have a 200+ mile range LEAF planned for 2017, as has been hinted at many times (and if not, all their EV investment will be for naught). I assume they already are accelerating that delivery as much as possible. So what to do in the meantime?

    I think they have to discount deeply and build as few S models as possible until the 2017s arrive. Keep the LEAFs moving so as to keep momentum going.

    1. Sting777 says:

      It snows in the northeast.
      Even BMW opens up it’s incentive wallet in December-January.

  9. Kaleb says:

    The Nissan dealerships in the greater Sacramento area just very recently got shipments of 30Kwh Leafs. I had a couple of friends interested but they ended up with BMW i3’s as they could get them for less money than the Leaf. The Leafs were quoted at over $400/mo while both leased i3 REXs for just under $300/mo.

  10. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I expect that most would-be Leaf buyers know the current Leaf is only an interim model year, with a significant increase in battery capacity coming, hopefully to rival the 60 kWh Bolt, and the Tesla Model ≡.

    Sure, some will buy the Leaf 1.5; those who for one reason or another can’t wait for the Leaf 2.0. There might well be some improvement over the dismal 2015 sales, since the Leaf 1.5 does at least have more range. But I don’t expect to see Leaf sales rival 2014 sales until dealers actually get significant inventory of the Leaf 2.0.

  11. Sting777 says:

    http://www.bmwusa.com/bmw/special-offers?zip=xxxxx

    – Build out $2000 off still applies.

    1. Larry says:

      Since their CEO has revealed that the i3 will soon have a greater AER, I would expect some loss of demand. It remains to be seen how much the improvement will be and what effect that will have on the price.

  12. John says:

    The existence of the Bolt has made all the difference. We’re coming off a 3-year lease on a Leaf soon and I’ve done cost per KwH calculations on almost every EV that we know will be available. Bolt comes out way ahead on that score.

    Nissan would have to offer incredibly deep discounts to get me to buy or lease another Leaf from current inventory.

    I don’t think I’m alone. The game has already changed in consumers minds. Anyone without a 200-mile BEV will be at a disadvantage.

  13. mhamilton says:

    My leaf lease is due in 60 days. I just checked on leasing a 2016 sl and Nissan is going to loose everbody soon I belive. I was quoted 800+/month on a 24mo 15k lease and over 500 for 36. Insane. I currently lease my leaf with 15k year for 250/month granted it is a S model but the Leaf is going to flop. The dealer said the residual is 39% now. When I leased it was 60%. I could get a Tesla for the 800/month price.

    1. Nix says:

      At 39%, they are essentially getting double-paid the $7500 fed. tax incentive. They are collecting that money both from you, and from the gov’t.

      It sounds like they don’t want to lease EV’s anymore. They only want to do sales.

  14. LEAF_n_PiP says:

    I would actually consider the Leaf to have done quite well in January having sold 755 units (in it’s 6th model year) considering the Bolt news and the typical January slump. The brand new second gen Volt only sold 996 units (granted it’s not at nationwide sales yet).

  15. MTN Ranger says:

    I don’t know why anyone would buy a new Leaf at this point until 2.0 arrives. I did a search and found a few ’12 Leaf SVs and SLs with 15-25k miles going for only $9-10k. I would go that route while waiting for the long distance options to arrive in the next 1-2 years.

  16. Leaf_n_Prius says:

    At first I couldn’t understand Leaf pricing for 2016. I thought “do they want to sell these cars or not”. Now I think I understand. You can always lower the price when necessary. As soon as the 30KW Leafs are in good supply I am going to look for better pricing.

    1. Benjamin says:

      Yep, this is my thinking as well. Nissan is trying to get a premium price for the 2016 Leaf from motivated buyers while the inventory is low. But give it a couple months for the inventory to build and spread through the US and the incentives will start to flow. By the end of the year when the Bolt is released, the Leaf will be much more affordable than it is now.

  17. Alex says:

    Everybody searching good deals, you must think on Nissan:
    – perhaps Leaf 1 will be sold only 12 months and then 2017 January the new based on IDS will be shown, so last chance for Nissan earning money! More near to Bolt arrive their will be good deals i think. And Nissan invested much money, in Europe last week news was they will invest millions to produce next Generation EV cells (think with LG Chem 45& 60 kWh). So I think it’s fair try to earn money from the last ~ 50.000 Leafs this year.

  18. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Isn’t competition a bxxxx?

  19. xado says:

    it is not the car,my leaf MY end 2013 is technical perfect,it is the range.
    with 40-45kwh usable capacity,the leaf would have no challenger im his class.
    there is no need for a new designed car.
    the leaf has a timeless body,and will be still a nice car in 20 years

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      REally?

      LEAF can’t use a better safety rating? I guess you don’t care about poor rating in IIHS’s small overlap frontal crash or the 4 star rating in the NHTSA rating.

      I think it can use better aerodynamic and better performance as well.

  20. George Jetson says:

    Correction: No Charge to Charge added Santa Barbara, not Santa Monica.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Thanks George,

      It is Santa Monica, our link story has to correct, I just messed it up…I was just there recently, guess I had it on my mind, lol. /fixed

  21. Leaf Owner says:

    I have a 2013 Leaf and I will never buy a sub 200 mile range EV again. Nuff said.