Nissan LEAF Sales Slump To Lows In November For US, Just As New Help Finally Arrives

2 years ago by Jay Cole 57

Nissan LEAF

Nissan Wins “Small Family” Green Car of the Year Award With 2016 30 kWh LEAF

November was a month of good news, and not so good news for the Nissan LEAF.

Nissan Tweets The 2016 Edition Has Gone On Sale In The US In November

Nissan Tweets The 2016 Edition Has Gone On Sale In The US In November

The good news was that the new 2016 edition of the Nissan LEAF, which comes with a 30 kWh/107 mile range battery in the SV and SL trims, actually arrived in November.

The bad news was that it arrived late in the month, in limited numbers – so it barely helped sales at all.

For November 1,054 LEAFs were sold, near all being of the older, 2016 variety.  The monthly result is also a 2015 low for the model.

When we originally broke the story that indeed a longer range 2016 LEAF would be added to the lineup last May, we had expected hoped it would arrive in mid-October.

As it turns out, Nissan’s Smyrna, TN facility was not quite as ready as thought…or at the very least, Nissan had some extra 2015 inventory it looked to sell down before releasing the 2016.  Either way, the result was a sales disaster

However, by month’s end, about ~250 new 2016s where in stock at US dealers, while another 2,000-odd 2015s remain to be cleared out.  Given Nissan’s strong desire to rid dealers of old stock (such as this recent ‘group buy’ that nets an additional $9,007 off  the MSRP in Northern Colorado though year’s end), it shouldn’t take very long.

For the year, 15,922 LEAFs have now been sold, which is down considerably from the 27,098 moved through November in 2014.

The new longer ranged LEAF should be well stocked heading into January, so we expect a significant improvement right from the start of the 2016 calendar year, as the all-electric Nissan has now distanced itself from the legion of sub-100 mile city EVs now on sale in the US.

2016 Nissan LEAF 30 kWh SV Window Sticker (via Warren M)

2016 Nissan LEAF 30 kWh SV Window Sticker (via Warren M)

2016 Nissan LEAF aero (Japan Only)

2016 Nissan LEAF Aero (Japan Only)

 

We’d also like to take a moment to express our jealousy over the 2016 model in Japan, as the LEAF gets a new aerodynamic update option, new/more color options than the US, and also a performance boost for the new 2016 edition (details) + forward emergency braking and lane departure warning.

Additionally, the company promised to bring “piloted drive 1.0” to the EV in Japan in 2016.

For the rest of the world?  We get none of that.

 

Gallery Below – 2016 Nissan LEAF in Japan:  Enjoy what what you can’t have

2016 Nissan LEAF Aero (Japan only)

2016 Nissan LEAF Aero (Japan only)

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan) - LDW (lane departure warning)

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan) – LDW (lane departure warning)

2016 Nissan LEAF Aero (Japan Only) Interior

2016 Nissan LEAF Aero (Japan Only) Interior

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan only) - Emergency Braking

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan only) – Emergency Braking

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan Only) - Ok, We Don't Want This

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan Only) – Ok, We Don’t Want This

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan only) - Emergency Braking

2016 Nissan LEAF (Japan only) – Emergency Braking

Regular 2016 Nissan LEAF Vs Aero - Acceleration Comparison

Regular 2016 Nissan LEAF Vs Aero – Acceleration Comparison

Nissan Piloted Drive Coming To Japan In Late 2016 (Prototype shown)

Nissan Piloted Drive Coming To Japan In Late 2016 (Prototype shown)

Nissan Piloted Drive Capability For Japan - 2016

Nissan’s Plans For Piloted Drive Capability In The Future (at least in Japan)

There is more, but we have to stop…it’s just too depressing.

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57 responses to "Nissan LEAF Sales Slump To Lows In November For US, Just As New Help Finally Arrives"

  1. SparkEV says:

    I wonder what will happen to Leaf sales next year when (if?) Bolt is released. Unless Nissan has something up their sleeves or GM management screw it up (ie, restrict sales), Leaf could be in trouble.

    1. Alan says:

      I suspect they will have something up their sleeve !

      1. EVcarNut says:

        The Bolt Is Probably NOT what it’s Cracked Up To Be…& if it is, it will more than likely come 0ut Late….GM Ford 0r FCA ..Will Not & Cannot Compete….

        1. Alan says:

          If the Bolt dribbles out in numbers or is max 30k production then it will play strait into Nissan’s & Tesla’s hands !

        2. Get Real says:

          The Bolt will be awesome with a real 200 plus miles of range in the popular CUV Form factor using (finally after Tesla proved its advantages) the GM invented skateboard design that maximizes interior volume!

          The Bolt will likely have a significant impact on the Leaf and all other short range EVs. Unfortunately for Nissan, they waited to long to introduce significant improvements to their once dominant affordable EV and thus are on the brink of being eclipsed at least until Leaf 2 comes out.

          Of course, GM could still blow it and if they can’t ramp up the Bolt to meet the demand (which should be far in excess of their lame 30,000 estimate) then this might give a reprieve to Nissan.

          And both Nissan and GM will have to compete with Tesla’s Model 3 so they cannot rest on their laurels or Tesla will eat their lunch on the midsize, mid priced EV segment.

        3. John Hansen says:

          How do you mean GM can’t compete? The Volt is the most capable affordable EV on the market today (I know that you will complain about it having a range extender, but that is actually an advantage to non-zealots). They are also the only car company with a 2nd generation EV, and the only one selling three EV models in the US. It’s kind of hard to say that they can’t compete with a straight face, isn’t it?

          1. Brian says:

            “the only one selling three EV models in the US”? Really?

            Ford sells the Fusion, CMax, and Focus.
            BMW sells the i3, i8, and X5
            VAG? Forget it. They sell 5! The eGolf, Cayenne, Panamera, 918, and A3 eTron.

            http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/

            I’m not discounting GM’s ability to compete, but let’s get the facts right.

            1. John Hansen says:

              Eh, you have a partial point. I should have added “that you can actually buy”. The Ford Focus is just barely available (just a few in the country). The i8 is super expensive and out of reach of almost everyone, and I’ve never seen any of the VW/Audi products for sale. So I stand by my original statement while amending the “that you can actually buy” statement.

            2. ModernMarvelFan says:

              If you want to get technical, then 918 is sold out thus no longer available…

            3. Mike616 says:

              LOL. You said Ford.
              FORD, trailing edge, no commitment to innovation Ford.

              2016 and Ford still running 2009 battery system, still with a CMax with no space.

              Come on.

              1. Brian says:

                Yes, I said Ford. Innovating behind the scenes and then suddenly appearing on the market Ford. First in the US to offer 3 plug-in models at the same time Ford.

                And my CMax has more luggage space than your Volt. It may have an inferior drive train (although anything with a plug is a good thing), but it has superior packaging.

                1. Mike616 says:

                  Those old batteries kill any advantage it has.
                  People see the trunk and say NO.
                  That kills sales.

                  For the CEO to ignore that for 4 years: Corporate Incompetence.

                  1. Brian says:

                    Between the Fusion and CMax Energi’s, there are plenty of people who look at the trunk and say “good enough for me”. Together, there have been more of those folks than takers of the smaller Volt so far this year. Granted that is likely to turn around with the new Volt, but the point remains – Ford is selling enough of the cars to remain in the #2 or #3 spot. Don’t count them out just because they haven’t made any updates in the past 3 years. Ford is good at holding their cards close to their chest. I suspect they have something significant ready for release in the next 2-3 years.

          2. Josh says:

            You must be excluding Tesla based on price point. Tesla is on at least 2.5 generations of EV tech (roadster, model s, AWD/model X).

      2. SJC says:

        The Bolt will likely have liquid cooling thus less capacity reduction over time than the 24 kWh LEAF.

    2. John F says:

      In the tradition of the old ICE car market, Nissan’s plan appears to be just selling the original Leaf for 5-6 years before updating the model. Unfortunately, this new EV car market is more like the market for phones or computers. Buyers demand the latest technology, and manufacturers need to get reliable technology to market faster.

      In the USA, Nissan needs a larger battery in every model Leaf, and they need a new body style, and they need to push the eNV200 van (with a larger battery). It would not have hurt if they had done more to develop a ChaDeMo network of fast chargers, but I think it is too late now to impact 2016 sales.

      Nissan does not appear positioned to meet the demand, so Spark EV, you are right. Nissan and the Leaf are in trouble for 2016. I hope the Leaf has become inexpensive to make, because the price will have to drop if they are going to sell many.

      1. Mike616 says:

        This is the third Nissan battery improvement.
        And the cars have gotten minor improvements also.
        But, no they didn’t create a new body yet.

        That’s next year.

        1. John F says:

          To be fair, some of those ‘battery improvements’ were just part of the multi-step process to fix the original heat sensitive battery problem. The 30 kWh is a significant improvement, but it is neither offered nor an option with the S model. The Leaf is really an excellent vehicle that many could enjoy driving, but the sales figures show, people demand more. Introducing new technology more rapidly seems to be key. Even with it far higher price, Tesla Model S sales sore because Tesla continuously introduces newer technology like 4 wheel drive and new optional acceleration profiles. While Leaf and Tesla sales numbers used to be similar with the Leaf often in the lead, this month shows Tesla outselling Leaf by 3-to-1. Tesla is doing a great job meeting customer demands, while Nissan Leaf has fallen short.

    3. Ziv says:

      I don’t know about the Bolt giving the Leaf that much trouble. First the Leaf will have models that sell for way less than the base Bolt and that makes a huge difference since a sizable minority of drivers don’t need their car to have more than 80 miles of range.
      Second, GM is hated by a huge portion of the car buying public and Nissan gets a pass or is admired for Ghosn’s leadership in the BEV industry.
      Third, GM is going to be slotted between the short range Leafs and will be priced close to the long range Leaf when it appears and probably below the eventual MSRP of the Tesla III. I doubt the III will have both a mid-$30k price and 200+ miles of AER. One will have to give. I can see a base III with 120 miles of range (and no super charger access) priced at $38k and the 200 mile III priced at $42k, or thereabouts.
      For several thousand dollars, a lot of buyers will want to “upgrade” to a III, when it eventually arrives. But that is an advantage for the Bolt, it will be selling for several quarters before the III arrives. And GM could build a great deal of BEV goodwill in that time.

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        I think the contingent of people who still hate GM in the post-Volt era, but admire Nissan for their “EV leadership” consists almost entirely of EV-1 truthers. I do not believe this is a sizable number of people; certainly not big enough to make any impact on sales.

        1. ziv says:

          EvCarNut’s comment above kind of sums up the hate GM crowd. Not that GM hasn’t pi**** me off a time or two.

          1. Get Real says:

            GM’s mistakes are not in engineering. They can and do out-engineer everyone else in the PHEV segment and the Bolt will probably be close to Tesla in the pure EV segment regarding engineering.

            GM’s problems are that they have not been aggressiveness enough to leverage their well engineered EV systems into more segments and their marketing totally sucks and their dealer model almost sucks as badly as their marketing.

            With Tesla coming in hard in a couple of years we shall see how GM reacts to that pressure and if they can deal with their problems/inertia.

            1. Ziv says:

              One of the things that GM has done that makes me mad as he** is the sophomoric design language they use on a lot of their cars. Look at the Spark and tell me that the Spark exterior design team deserves to keep their jobs. It looks like it was designed by a drunken Pokemon fan.

            2. Mike616 says:

              The Volt is the Best Plugin on the market. No Question.
              Just one problem, rear seat head room and leg room.

              That could easily be fixed by a wagon version. Like Subaru has been doing for years, sell a car and a wagon version.

              So, there’s something wrong at GM, that’s for sure.
              They don’t know how to Win.

            3. Bonaire says:

              GM’s primary problem is its dealers.

      2. Nick says:

        The Bolt is stuck with CCS.

        I hope someone makes a CHAdeMO to CCS adapter.

        1. Bonaire says:

          The right answer Is in the hands of ABB. dual head charging stations. When it has both cables, who cares?

    4. Scott says:

      It will be really interesting to see how close these competitors are. I would bet that 1: they come out within a quarter (3 months) of each other. You can call it intuition from watching other models/ generations.
      2: Someone else jumps in between them -like Ford, without us seeing it coming.
      3: Range won’t be a disappointment this time, but availability will be.

      1. Get Real says:

        Ford has been a non-factor in compelling EVs so far and I see no changes coming to their policy of using EVs only as compliance cars.

        1. John Hansen says:

          Don’t forget about the Fusion and C-Max Energi models. Those are all over the place but they’re kind of stealth, so you don’t realize that they’re out there. And maybe they don’t have a long EV range, but it’s the same technology. They’re getting great experience with it, they’re getting their customers used to it, and it’s achieving a large percentage of what pure BEVs do, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a move.

          1. Mike616 says:

            Where everyone else has upgraded their battery from their supplier, Ford is still selling the same battery the original car came in.

            You have to wonder, did they buy say 20,000 Gen 1 batteries and store them in a warehouse? And won’t redesign until this stock is sold out? Cause that’s how you lose.

    5. Kris says:

      Of course, sales will weaken just prior to a longer-range version. The Bolt, or any EV with significantly more range near the Leaf’s price point will put pressure on Nissan, along with many other EV manufacturers.

      However, for now at least, it looks like the 2016 Leaf is the leader in range for those looking at sub-Tesla priced EV’s.

    6. Just_Chris says:

      Re: the likelihood of Nissan having something up their sleeve vs GM’s management screwing up.

      My money is going on Nissan having something up their sleeve but it taking too long to get to market to make any difference but it not mattering because GM’s management are almost guaranteed to completely bomb. Lets face it this is the group of genius’s that slowed the Volt line to make the ELR just before the Christmas selling season.

      I am still keen as mustard to see what happens to Volt sales when the Outlander PHEV arrives in the US as this will be the first time that the Volt has had anything close to a competitor (provided the price is right). Perhaps that is unfair as the Fords and the i3 Rex are already in the mix but hey this is the internet I can make up what I want.

  2. offib says:

    Woah… This year, man. That was quite a long fall for the LEAF. You could say it was crushed, it withered…

    Hmm? Stop it? Aww, ok then…

  3. offib says:

    Hang on, where are the 30kWh packs coming from? I thought they were only being produced in Japan, and had to be shipped in?

    I thought the Tennessee and Sunderland plants were capable of using new formulas flawlessly.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      US LEAFs have 30 kWh battery sourcing from Nissan’s Smyrna, TN facility. UK/Euro LEAFs have new chemistry via Japan, standard 24 kWh remain local.

      1. Bonaire says:

        UsIng LG Chem cells. Are they the same as those in Gen 2 Volts?

  4. Bob says:

    Last image should be not Piloted drive 1.0, thats more. We will see in Japan if first Leafs are on streets. To christmas we all buy a Leaf now otherwise the whole market weakens in US.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Whoops, mislabelled that one. Good catch, thanks! /fixed

  5. James says:

    I’m in a dilemma right now. There are simply too few cars to choose from, and the good ones are still two years out. My Volt lease comes up in January, and the choices stink outside of ZEV states: old Volt, old Leaf, BMW i3, Tesla. I can’t afford a Tesla, and the range on the i3 is not much better than a Leaf. I had hoped 3 years ago that the landscape would be a lot better, but it’s not. Disappointing.

    1. Alan says:

      It does feel like the EV world has stood still this last year in particular, hence the sales total for the year as a whole.

    2. Spider-Dan says:

      Your best option might be to see if you can lease your Volt for another 6 months.

    3. John says:

      I have somewhat the same problem. Our Leaf lease ends next June. Too early for the longer range EVs but too late to go for anything but a short lease on any existing EV. We’ll probably do without for six months or so (I ride a bike to work most days anyway) and just wait and see, all the while knowing that we’ll probably ultimately have to choose either a next gen Leaf or the Bolt.

  6. Anon says:

    Don’t get why they wont start selling Leaf’s with that cleaned up Aero facelift (lower front of car is less ugly, at least), or improved motor control module for better acceleration.

    Don’t they want to sell EVs???? *shakes head*

  7. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Why buy a new LEAF when you can get an used LEAF for almost nothing….

    1. John Hansen says:

      Used Leafs are very cheap because people are aware of the battery degradation problem. Even under good conditions Leafs lose several percentage of their capacity in the first 30k miles. That takes a barely adequate range down to an inadequate range for many people. The first generation Leaf is a lease-only car, and the used prices reflect that.

      There are about 30 Chinese companies selling aftermarket Macbook Pro batteries on Amazon for $45. I reeaaalllly wish one of them would start making knock-off Leaf batteries for $2k with a 100 mile range. Then suddenly the $9k used Leafs would be a fantastic deal! Pretty please?

      1. ggpa says:

        “Used Leafs are very cheap because people are aware of the battery degradation problem. ”

        Yes for 2011/12. But the 2013 and later seem to have a good battery.

        1. John Hansen says:

          I’m not convinced of that yet. I know that the Lizard battery is supposed to solve most of the major heat-related degradation problems of the 11/12 series, but I don’t think it eliminates the “acceptable” degradation (as defined by Nissan). My understanding is that it can still be several percent over 30k.

          1. ggpa says:

            John, do you have any degradation data on lizard batteries. What is the basis of your understanding?

            Specifically, what information do you have that is not in http://insideevs.com/nissan-leaf-battery-reliably-outperforms-cynics-critics-alternatives/

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              That article is based on European LEAF which is to say “mild Climate”!!!!!!!!

              So, a biased study with biased sample.

              If we look the early LEAF studies, then we would see there is a huge correlation with heat and climate zone temperature range.

              Remember that even the Famous Steve Marsh with his 100K miles LEAF in the mild Pacific NW already lost 4 bars by the 120K miles…

              1. ggpa says:

                MMF – you are off point here.

                The issue here are 2013 or later Leafs, whose batteries seem to be fine, unless you have information that suggests otherwise.

                You should know that Steve Marsh lost the bars on a 2011 model.

  8. Mark C says:

    I know you’re disappointed in the gold(ish) color, Jay, but are there any bright cheerful colors coming or are we stuck with various shades of black, brown, grey, silver, white….

    IIRC, they kept the red one and darkened the blue one into where you can’t tell it from black in lower light conditions. Some {at least 1} of us want a bright color.

  9. bro1999 says:

    Leaf sales? You can kiss them goodbye once this is released: http://www.motortrend.com/news/spied-production-chevrolet-bolt-caught-completely-undisguised/#2017-chevrolet-bolt-ev-side

    At least until the Gen 2 Leaf is released.

    1. Bob says:

      And before Bolt will go to dealer Nissan will revenge with presentation of 230 miles Leaf :-). Also the sales in Europe (20.000) and Japan (~15.000) will not be touched, thats more than GM will produce for “world”, forget Bolt is only for some markets…

  10. Nix says:

    I think overall, that Nissan has done a decent job handling their transition to a GEN II Leaf.

    Everybody knows that for every EV, transition to the second generation is going to cut into first generation sales. The Volt was the same way.

    These transitions are going to be tough. This sort of thing is going to have to be expected.

    It is a good kind of growing pain.

  11. Tim E says:

    I will personally take credit for one of the Leaf sales for November – I was apparently one of the first to buy a 2016 Leaf since they had to manually process the financing stuff since Nissan didn’t have it all setup in their computer yet.

    I turned in my leased 2013 Leaf and went for one with the 30 KWh pack – the additional bit of range makes a BIG difference in getting rid of range anxiety! I have been a fan of the Leaf since I got my 2013. The 2016 sure feels like a lot more than a 25% increase in range – I swear it seems like more than a 30 KWh battery, but I haven’t really put it to any sort of long distance range tests yet.

    So – for the Leaf bashers out there – give it some credit – I think even the incremental range boost will help sales, and I certainly wasn’t ready to wait it out for yet to be announced availability of the Bolt/Leaf 2/Model 3/or other yet to be named longer range EVs.

    1. Bob says:

      You are right, one should live. You can always wait but today Leaf 2016 is one of the best. If you wait for Bolt (November 2016 ?) you can also wait for Leaf 2 (first half 2017) which will have more range, and if you wait for Leaf 2, perhaps you could wait for Model 3 (end 2017). But in 2018 perhaps Bolt will get a refresh, and 2019 perhaps Tesla 3 some additional miles ? I mean batterys get better every year. Tesla will do a range update in 2016, 100 %, you all should wait do get some extra miles! (irony)