Nissan LEAF Sales Disappoint In December For US, 2016 Edition Or Not

2 years ago by Jay Cole 49

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn with Renault ZOE and Nissan LEAF For COP21 In December

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn with Renault ZOE and Nissan LEAF For COP21 In December

Even though winter officially began only a couple weeks ago, Nissan has been in its own ‘winter of sales‘ for about six months with the all-electric LEAF. That is, ever since word of the new, longer range 2016 edition’s coming arrival hit the newswires in May of 2015 – or so we thought.

2016 Nissan LEAFs Finally Arrived Late In 2015

2016 Nissan LEAFs Finally Arrived Late In 2015, But Didn’t Help Sales Seemingly At All

The thing now is, the premium 107 mile 2016 edition LEAF was available throughout December, (albeit in somewhat limited fashion) and sales didn’t respond all that well.

We perhaps could be seeing a market reaction to the  increased starting price of the SV/SL models (from $34,200) to get the extra 23 miles of range over the base 84 mile/S trim level which starts at around $29,000?

So, the results for December then:

With some still relatively thin 2016 inventory, Nissan managed only 1,347 LEAFs sold, 27% better than the 1,054 moved in November, but 57% below December of 2014 when 3,102 were moved.

Closing out 2015, Nissan had about ~1,800 2016 LEAFs on hand on dealer lots (perhaps half being the 107 miler), which is historically about 40% of the normal.

Overall for the full year, the numbers were pretty bleak.  17,269 LEAFs sold in 2015, versus 30,200 in 2014, off an ugly 43%.

It is difficult to see a silver lining for only selling 1,347 EVs in December with an updated product for Nissan, but perhaps this will give the company some further motivation to get cracking on the long range, 2nd generation model (based on the 60kWh IDS Concept) – which is currently expected in the second quarter of next year.

Nissan and BMW Join Forces On Fast Charging

Nissan and BMW Join Forces On Fast Charging

Separately this month:

*- Nissan backed away from a “all CHAdeMO, all the time” stance when it comes to fast charging in announcing a collaboration with BMW to install 120 new multi-standard (CHAdeMO/CCS) station in the US

*- there was word that Nissan may add a range extended option to the next generation Juke

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49 responses to "Nissan LEAF Sales Disappoint In December For US, 2016 Edition Or Not"

  1. David Murray says:

    I think the longer range version is still not widely available. My local dealer has none in stock and has no idea when they will get any. In fact, they complained that they didn’t want any until they sold the 15 older-style Leafs already on the lot.

    1. Skryll says:

      In December Walnut creek California a Nissan dealer salesperson also said leafs are sold out and doesn’t know when there are any coming in. Basically did not jump on my interest so I just drove away again looking at BMW i3 next.

    2. James says:

      Sounds like the dealers may be the hold up,… again!

      Sorry, what is their purpose?

    3. Lad says:

      It’s really sad to see Nissan management bungle EVs so badly. They’re still setting policy based on ICE cars and it doesn’t work for EVs.
      Their major policy mistake so far is not offering an upgrade battery path for the older cars. They have sold 200,000 cars that are now obsoleted by their limited range. As a result these cars have lost more resale value than any other car currently on the market. No one wants to take a chance on a car that is restricted in range and requires a battery that cost half the value of the car. Nissan has a policy of abandoning their EV customers and their no battery policy is the proof.

      1. David Murray says:

        But that does help sell new EVs rather than keep old ones on the road.

        1. Dr. Miguelito Loveless says:

          Maybe so, but they are not going to sell very many of the 100 mile cars when the Bolt is due out at year’s end with twice the range. Allowing older models to upgrade to the new pack would have kept cash flowing and customers happy until the next gen comes out.

          If I wanted a new car right now, I would by a Volt as a compromise, and see what comes out in the next five years.

  2. Mister G says:

    As of mid December 2015, Nissan dealerships in Central Florida area did not have any 2016 Leafs to sell/lease.

  3. Bevo says:

    I’m not sure why Nissan and other companies planning on long range (150 miles+) are surprised when their stop-gap cars like the 107 mile range Leaf don’t sell well. We’re simply waiting for the much promised long range EV’s like the Bolt, 150 mile Leaf, Tesla Model 3, etc. It’s the next phase folks, and I for one am waiting for the next phase to start delivering. Why waste my money on a 107 mile Leaf when allegedly the 200 mile Bolt is a little over a year away?

    1. Doug B says:

      +1
      The statement in the article of a 60kWh model in the 2nd quarter of 2016 says it all. Who will purchase this stop gap model when a true forward step and potentially better looking car is just 1/2 a year away?

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Calendar flip now Doug (gets me too)

        “2nd generation model … which is currently expected in the second quarter of next year.” (2017)

        1. R.S says:

          Still, 1 and a half years is to short a time for anyone to buy, maybe even lease a car. We are in a state of waiting, with only cars sold, whenever someone comes out of a lease and need a new car. Everyone else will wait for the longer range models, or at least a big discount on the not so long range ones.

    2. Kevin Z says:

      Ditto

    3. mike w says:

      +1 we are waiting the Bolt also.

  4. Anon says:

    Seems like a pretty clear case of Osborne Effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect

    1. kubel says:

      If that was the case, we would be seeing similar sales drop with the i3, since they are expecting a battery increase next year too.

      I would have upgraded to a 2016 LEAF, but due to the price increase and the terrible residual, the i3 can now be leased cheaper than a 30kWh LEAF. Not to mention- how many of us are willing to give nissan a second chance after the battery degradation issue that plagued first-gen? I might, but not many would.

      I’m holding off for the Bolt. I think it will be a good car and beat both Nissan and Tesla to the market with a 200-mile BEV that costs less than $40,000. It’s also a practical hatchback. I love hatchbacks.

  5. Elroy says:

    Didnt see any long range LEAFs at my local dealership last time I looked.
    On a side note: That is a great side by side pic of the LEAF vs i3. The i3 really is not as small as one would think.

  6. Alan says:

    The longer range 30kWh has just gone on sale here in the UK and the price has gone up 10%.

    I would have thought that if they wanted to maintain market share, given the fact that battery prices appear to be coming down & the imminent arrival of the longer range Bolt, they would have maintained price ?

  7. Robb Stark says:

    So what is the best selling BEV in the USA for 2016?

    1. Zach says:

      Model S, and its not particularly close.

  8. Gabo says:

    I’ve been trying to buy 30kWh Leaf since November. They have no in stock, dealer has no info when they can get. So Nissan should not be surprised with lower sales of Leaf if they can only deliver 24kWh version for higher price, just because they sticked 2016 sticker on it.

  9. Leaf Owner says:

    The ending of the GA tax credit killed the Leaf…..

  10. Leaf Owner says:

    Just look at Leaf sales BEFORE July and After when GA killed the $5k tax credit and replaced it with the annual $200 TAX BILL for EVs. Not rocket science to see why the Leaf wilted…..you could lease a Leaf in GA for almost nothing…..now it costs way more than a gasser. It’s all economics.

    1. Marc says:

      +1 Georgia had a big impact.

  11. David says:

    Their lease prices have been insane. Lease rates are 3-4x what you could lease a SV with similar MSRP back in 2013. The residual is half of what it was for 2013 leases. Nissan is caught between a rock and a hard place.

    To me it seems that they go from one extreme to the other. Trying to push people into the cars and now pushing them away. $600-$800/mo (w same down) is insane for a LEAF.

    Dealers are unwilling to deal on 2016s and not even that much on 2015s.

    Meanwhile they RAISED the buy out price on our 2013 LEAF. Makes absolutely no sense. Our residual is $20,000 for a 3 year old LEAF! They had been giving a $6500 discount, which was still way about its market value, but now they’ve reduced the discount to $5000. Still an insane $15,000 for a 3 year old car with degraded battery coming out of warranty.

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      When I returned my 12 Leaf in September, they were unwilling to discuss my $9k offer for the car. My residual was the $5k-reduced price of $13k.

      Instead, the car went to auction and was listed on a used car lot for… $9k. I’m sure it sold for less than that. Nissan seems willing to lose money on these things.

      My advice: walk away when you’re done. My next EV will probably not be a Nissan – they seem clueless about their own product and its market.

  12. Assaf says:

    Jay, don’t you mean *because* of thin inventory, rather than *despite* thin inventory?

    Obviously you cannot sell 3000 longer-range Leafs if you don’t have that many to sell.

    It is worrisome that beyond the botched management of the Leaf brand in 2015 after revitalizing it in 2013-4 – in particular, the way-to-late rollout of the 107-mile option as others wrote here – it seems that Nissan still cannot, or will not, acquire a larger Leaf manufacturing capacity across its 3 Leaf-able plants. Any additional insight on that? Why couldn’t they pump out far more 107-miles?

    Lastly, any idea how many 2015s are still in inventory? They are offering deals on them around here in Seattle.

  13. Al S says:

    Nissan has offered grants towards the installation of CHAdeMO AND dual CHAdeMO/CCS units for a while in the USA and Canada (mostly Quebec).

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      Nissan should be talking nice with Tesla about how to utilize the Supercharger network instead.

  14. SJC says:

    It remains to be seen how much capacity reduction the 30 kWh pack has after 5 years 50,000 miles.

  15. M. St. J. says:

    In Jacksonville, FL there are none to be had. They treat current leasees like the plague. If they are surprised by the sales then they need new management. I too will wait on the model III and Bolt. I love my Leaf but Nissan has treated early adopters poorly. They may loose their leading position to GM or Tesla.

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      My thoughts exactly. Nissan has squandered their early lead. If Leaf 2.0 resembles the hideous concept car they’ve shown lately, they’ll be lost forever.

    2. mike w says:

      +1 we have a 2011 Leaf and we are down to 40 miles on charge ( to the first low battery alarm). Talked to Nissan about replacing the battery under warranty and they told me to take a hike. My next EV will be a GM or Tesla.

  16. John says:

    The 2016 model is fairly scarce, and isn’t really being promoted. That is surely a factor. I think another factor is that people are seeing a price tag in the mid-30Ks and opting to wait a little longer and pay basically the same amount for an upcoming 200-mile EV. I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll be doing when our Leaf lease ends this June.

    1. Michael Will says:

      What they really need to be doing is build the leaf modular in the sense that the battery and other tech pieces like sensors, dash display, computer, can be upgraded, and get people into 1 and 2 year leases.

      Demand would be much higher and taking it back after a year or two and putting it back on the market after upgrading would give it a fresh appeal.

      Also more campaigns educating where 100 mile range is already enough – a lot of normal gas cars are still sold to people that don’t need the additional range on their second car.

      In 2016 that should not be necessary anymore, more sales efforts should focus on that.

      And the cheap subsidized gas prices have to go, carbon tax needs to be introduced and raised slightly annually.

      1. Stuart22 says:

        Nissan is a car company that sells complete cars, not an aftermarket parts house.

    2. SJC says:

      There a more than 75 new 2016 SV LEAFs for sale in Southern California.

  17. JackDFW says:

    I just checked Nissan web site for Dallas-Fort Worth Leaf inventory.

    105 Leafs in stock.

    Only 1 is a 2016 ( an SL )

    Can’t sell if none in stock….

    1. SJC says:

      There are 48 new 2016 SL LEAF in S. Cal. You ship them where you can sell them.

  18. ericonline says:

    No surprise. Hard to get excited about a 6 year old car that got a 20 mile range improvement. Especially with much more compelling choices in the near future. The price increase combined with the need to get the SV or SL model simply make it a poor value for most people.

    1. What compelling cars? The one promised to be there in maybe 2 years?

      1. ericonline says:

        2016 Volt, Bolt – Prod version to be unveiled soon, and Yes LEAF 2.0 and Model 3. Not to mention a host of plugin hybrids hitting the market. I know, lack of inventory hurts sales. You guys can argue with the reasons for disappointing sales, but numbers don’t lie.

        1. Assaf says:

          23 additional miles is actually pretty significant. And the price hasn’t really increased after you account for the fact that QC is now standard in the SV trim (you needed to add $1.7k for it before).

          IMHO if they rolled out a 107-mile 2016 in summer in large quantities (the 2015 model started in July 2014), they would have done fine. Now it is very late and yes, still too little of those 2016 to be seen around.

          They might still recover sales but will need *really* good lease deals to do it. After they get rid of all the 2015s, of course…

  19. David Lane says:

    In December 2015 in Michigan, I leased a 2015 S with charge package for $199 monthly–put $500 down plus a trade-in worth $750 wholesale.
    The salesperson had no 2016 Leaf’s available and said he did not know when he would.

    PS LOVE the car even now with temps in the single digits Fahrenheit.

  20. Phatcat73 says:

    After purchasing 2 Leafs, I’m ready to convert one to double+ range. 30kw battery is a bandaid to range anxiety. Bring on the Bolt or Nissan better offer a significant battery upgrade. (I wish I leased.)

  21. Mike says:

    still got another 18 months on my Leaf lease, almost certainly not getting another Leaf given current models.
    Hopefully next will be either a Bolt, Model3 or maybe even a CPO Model S

  22. Someone out there says:

    With the 200 mile cars on the horizon it’s no wonder people are not buying a 100 mile car. Nissan needs a clearance sale and then get their 200 miler on the market as soon as possible

  23. Nix says:

    100 miles wasn’t enough of an upgrade.

    Too many folks are now holding out for 200+ mile range EV’s now that they may become affordable to the typical new car buyer.

  24. Mihir Dalal says:

    I “had to” “had to” get the 107 mile range Leaf since, I was almost up on the 2013 Lease and my commute is 86 miles.

    I had some difficulty finding a dealer that had one in stock, but in 3-5 days, I located 2 dealerships in my area that had the 107 mile on their lot.

    In another 3 days, I had settled on one, without much difficulty. I was a 2013 early adopter, and the dealer could match my 2013 lease nos. for the 2016 model (with only a 2-3% jump in monthly payment).

    $350/month for 15,000 miles/year 3 years and $0 drive off factoring the CA rebate. I think, at least in California, the 2016s are not that difficult to locate.

  25. Mihir Dalal says:

    Oh, and my dealer was “Nissan of Burlingame”, just in case someone else wants to call out…looking for a 2016 model.

    All the hype about the 150-200 mile EV aside. I do not see it coming until middle of 2017. The Fed. tax rebate is likely to expire for Nissan, Chevy and Tesla by then..since they would all have reached the 200,000 EVs sold in USA by then..more or less.