Nissan LEAF Sales Up Slightly In US, Edge 1,000 Units For 3rd Month

3 weeks ago by Jay Cole 20

Nissan LEAF AT-EV (All Terrain Electric Vehicle) will enter the 10,000 mile Mongol Rally this Summer, but will it find enough charge points between UK and deep into Asia?

Call it the first-mover advantage, or a deep nationwide availability, or whatever you like…but the oldest EV offering in the US continues to find a way to sell; despite not looking all that hot on paper compared to its newer peers.

For April, 1,063 LEAFs were sold, a 35% gain over the 787 moved a year ago.

2018 Nissan LEAF – arrives in September…with a lot more range

In fact, the LEAF has posted sales gains in the last 8 consecutive months, despite a plethora of other new options, and despite Nissan’s recent announcement that the 2nd generation LEAF will be debuting this September, and on sale shortly thereafter.

We don’t understand it – yet there it is.

Overall for 2017, 4,350 new LEAFs have been delivered, which is up 17% from the 3,718 sold in 2016 through the first 4 months.

We should note (for what it is worth) that the 4,350 LEAFs moved in 2017 is near identical to sales on the all-new, 238 mile Chevrolet Bolt EV sofar (4,384 deliveries).

Further to Nissan’s future EV plans, some cracks in the company’s “lips are sealed” attitude have begun to show.

Nissan’s Chief Designer of 17 years, Shiro Nakamura – now retired, let slip the news that Nissan has short-term plans to introduce EVs besides the LEAF, saying:

“There will be many types of EVs in the future. The Leaf is a model, not a brand. As for other electric models, yes – a saloon, an SUV, but a sports car is difficult. EVs are not only for Nissan, but also for Infiniti. A new Leaf is coming, followed by some other body type.”

The Nissan Qashqai (shown here in petrol form) seems like a given to have a plug added over the next couple years

While new Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa (the first new boss in 16 years, replacing Carlos Ghosn) let us in on the company’s target for EV ranges by 2020:

“Good enough,” Saikawa said of a 300-mile range by 2020, “It’s a usable range, 300 miles. I believe that the technology will lead us to go there.”

Saikawa also stated that there would be a couple of new EV offerings over the next two years, all-electric vehicles that would take range “out of the equation” for the US.

So, while yes today’s LEAF leaves much to be desired, it seems clear that Nissan has no intention of giving up its worldwide leadership position in the all-electric car space.   We just wish they would hurry up already with the “new hotness”.

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20 responses to "Nissan LEAF Sales Up Slightly In US, Edge 1,000 Units For 3rd Month"

  1. Assaf says:

    In other news, the Leaf is still the YTD worldwide sales leader after Q1 and the Tesla end-of-quarter surge:

    Pretty amazing overall. Apparently there’s a lot more market to expand into… not everyone is waiting for the 200-mile miracle. Some are content with “just” an excellent bargain on a 107-mile one with a proven track record.

    http://ev-sales.blogspot.com/2017/04/world-top-10-march-2017.html

    Q1 was the Leaf’s second-best Q1 *ever*; only last year’s 30 kWh launch saw higher winter-quarter sales.

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      I’ve been saying for years that the primary barrier to much greater EV sales in the US was perception. There are millions of customers who can use an EV as their second (or third or…) vehicle and have convenient in-home charging, so they don’t even have to worry about public charging stations. I’ve had my Leaf for just over 4 years, using it exactly like this, and it’s been a fantastic car.

  2. BenG says:

    The answer to the puzzle of continued gen 1 Leaf sales is simple: deep discounting moves cars.

    With $10,000 discount off retail price available in multiple locales and if you can use the full federal tax credit, the Leaf becomes one of the most affordable cars you can buy.

    People will live with compromises if they pay only $14,000 net for a brand new car.

    1. R.S says:

      The incredibly low price is something that’s often overlooked with the Leaf. It really isn’t a desirable vehicle to most people, with it’s low range and quirky looks, but to those who don’t mind, it’s price point makes it unbeatable in the segment.

      I do hope Nissan realizes that and release a cheaper, lower range option, for the next gen Leaf as well. The market for sub 200 mile EVs might not be big, but Nissan actually owns it right now.

      1. BenG says:

        Yeah, that would be nice to see them keep a lower range, low cost Leaf in the lineup that delivered ~120 miles range at a retail price of ~20,000.

        1. R.S says:

          Especially since a 120 mile Leaf should be even cheaper to build, with more energy dense cells, since they should be cheaper per kWh.

  3. David Lane says:

    I’m guessing this comes down to price, nationwide availability, and confidence that Nissan dealerships know how to service the car.

    When I was ready to get an EV in 2015, the Leaf was NOT my first choice, but it became clear that it was the least risky choice here in Michigan. The car was available here, and had been for years already. There were no worries about servicing it, which was something I worried about if I chose to import an eGolf or Kia Soul from another state.

    And it was available with great leasing terms! Nice price for what it offered, no doubt. And that’s still true.

    I think the Bolt EV, although a great car that I greatly admire, does not yet check all those boxes here in Michigan, especially on leasing terms. Its GREAT, its a huge step forward, but its still too expensive for many, unlike the Leaf.

    From what I’ve seen right now the Bolt costs almost twice as much as a Leaf to lease.

    1. Brandon says:

      I agree that the lease price difference between the LEAF and the Bolt is probably the biggest factor.

  4. David Lane says:

    Of course, comparing Leaf to Bolt is apples to oranges in its ability to take trips (and accelerate to 60) but I really need more space in a vehicle to take long trips in.

    1. evnow says:

      And you need decent seats for long drives.

  5. najeeb says:

    go oldie

  6. MTN Ranger says:

    What’s not to understand? Nissan has been offering $10,000 off for the past three months.

  7. Bret says:

    I really wanted to hold out for a Model 3, but my company moved at the end of 2016 and my 6-mile daily round trip commute became 66 miles in 2017. As many others on here have said, Nissan made me a lease deal I couldn’t refuse. I save enough on gas in California to pay for most of my lease. It’s a no-brainer. It’s almost a free new car.

    I really love my new LEAF, despite the quirky looks and low range. It zips around silently and it’s a blast to drive. It’s solid and comfortable and it cruises the hilly freeways at 80+, without hesitation. I am very glad I got the new 30K LEAF, because the old 84 mile version would probably leave me stranded.

    I just keep wondering why Nissan hasn’t tweaked the sheet metal and offered the 40K battery? They could be selling lots of LEAFs, instead of only 1,000 per month. It’s really poor life-cycle management, if you ask me. I know there’s a new LEAF coming in September, but they have let a lot of sales slip away in the mean-time.

    1. BenG says:

      7 years between new generations of a car is a little long, but only a year or so more than normal.

      1. Bret says:

        This is very true Ben, but mid-cycle refreshes are also common.

        Look at what Tesla has done with the Model S. They came out with the D models, refreshed the front-end and offered many battery upgrades, in fewer years.

        Nissan could have done the same thing for very little cost and they could still be selling 3,000 LEAFs per month, instead of 1,000.

        1. Brandon says:

          Yeah, quite a number of updates in 2013 and a range bump in 2016 to 107 miles, ONE YEAR BEFORE THE REST offered something over 100 miles, (e-Golf, i3, Ioniq, Focus EV).

          Giving Nissan a hard time for 12 months longer than a typical gen cycle isn’t very justified…. IMO

        2. TS2000 says:

          I don’t believe Nissan is motivated to sell a lot of EV, at the bottom line, it is still a compliance car so they could continue to sell gas engine cars. But with the Bolt and the coming model 3,the car manufacturers might put more serious efforts on EV from now on. This year could be the turning point

  8. Jason says:

    I think Nissan has been trying to recover their investment with as little change as possible. Some of the changes were a direct result of performance (heat pump) and some a result of improvement (30kWh battery), but all the big ticket changes to body style have not happened as would be usual in mid model refresh.

    Sorry I’m not an engineer, but it looks like there is plenty of room under the boot, between the rear wheels, you would think a pretty easy uplift would be AWD, then you get all wheel regeneration, plus the Tesla experience would indicate AWD improves economy, which Leaf could use. It seems like such a natural thing for EV’s to have/offer AWD.

    I don’t know anything about the central computer in the Leaf, but the 2012 model has had no real improvement in the UI since new. Just something really simple like Find My Leaf would be an improvement that a software engineer could probably integrate into the telematics system in a day, just really simple things that Tesla do so well and these other manufacturers have so much trouble with.

    Low price, brand recognition and word of mouth sales would be my guess why Leaf is still doing well. If you could still get a SparkEV then I would expect they would be cheaper and selling well too.

  9. Dan Dan the driving man says:

    here in the Midwest with a 2017 new Nissan Leaf 30 kilowatt battery pack two years free recharging at commerce banks,fast Chargers and free recharging at all the Nissan dealers my car will actually pay for itself I wonder what that people truly don’t understand

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