US Consumers Put The Nissan LEAF On /Ignore, April Sales Swoon

1 year ago by Jay Cole 60

Maybe Its The Unique Domestic Color Palette That Makes The Nissan LEAF So Popular In Its Home Market?

Maybe Its The Unique Color Palette That Makes The Nissan LEAF So Popular In Its Home Market Of Japan?

After dropping its all-time US plug-in sales crown last month to the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan continued to find US customers unwilling to buy the new 2016 edition of the LEAF as all eyes are apparently on the future Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV.

LEAF Ad Takes Aim At Tesla Model 3 Wait Times - Click To Enlarge

LEAF Ad Takes Aim At Tesla Model 3 Wait Times – Click To Enlarge

During April just 787 were sold, which was off 49% from a year ago when Nissan moved 1,553.

April’s result was the worst “non-winter” result since 2012, and shows the US consumer is much more sensitive to future products than those found internationally, where some all-time highs have recently been netted.

Looking to spur sales heading into May, Nissan has chosen the unconventional approach of taking out full page print ads targeted at the Model 3, or at least people who might be having second thoughts about putting down $1,000 and potentially waiting 2 or 3 years for Tesla’s 215+ mile EV to show up.

Will it work?  Will sales pick up in May?  Given Nissan’s own seemingly unwillingness to produce and stock it’s own 107 mile LEAF (noted by the SV and SL trims) and at a reasonable starting MSRP, we kind of doubt it.

Despite the upgraded EV’s release over 4 months ago, Nissan is still averaging just under 2 per dealer in stock (~1,900 were on hand on average in April).

And as one can see on the chart below, this inventory decision, along with apparently much weaker US demand for “city EVs” while looking ahead to the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3, has certainly taken its toll on the LEAF’s US plug-in vehicle market share.

Nissan's New Longer Range LEAF Has Yet To Propel The EV Back To Past Glory Days

Nissan’s New Longer Range LEAF Has Yet To Propel The EV Back To Past Glory Days

Also of interest this month:

Nissan Esflow Concept

Nissan Esflow Concept

*-Nissan decided to show off the LEAF’s Japanese-based V2H abilities…in America, could these system finally arrive in the US at some point?

*-Charging provider Bl!nk and Nissan abruptly parted ways this month on the company’s “No-Charge-To-Charge” program

*-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn on the occasion of the Tesla Model 3 debut took the opposite approach of his fellow CEO at Fiat Sergio Marchionne and welcomed the new inexpensive BEV as “good competition

*- a Nissan Senior Vice-President Shiro Nakamura confirmed the company was working on a new modular EV platform, and that would spawn both an all-electric crossover and a plug-in sports car

 

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60 responses to "US Consumers Put The Nissan LEAF On /Ignore, April Sales Swoon"

  1. Tesla shares immediately crashed down 3%.

    1. TomArt says:

      This is not news. Tesla Motors stock jumps up and down by more than 3% on a nearly daily basis, for no market-driven reason. You see the price go nuts, even without news from or about Tesla Motors, without news from the competition, without any new market reports, etc.

      You see the same thing happen with the stocks of stable solar companies, like Solar City and Sun Power. It’s ridiculous.

      This nonsense will continue as long as Congress continues to permit gambling with stock markets (short selling, micro-second trading etc.).

  2. Alex says:

    Its obvious why Leaf is selling very good in Japan and in Europe:
    – Jpn: no Bolt will come, Model 3 will be very expensive
    – Europe: Ampera-E and Model 3 also more expensive with tax & transport, later than in US maybe second half 2017 first Amperas, Model 3 2020 if you have no S or fully equiped

  3. ericonline says:

    “Nissan is still averaging just under 2 per dealer in stock”. And they can’t even sell those. Nissan’s biggest mistake is not including the 30 kwh battery with the Base S LEAF. So buying a well equipped LEAF with the $37k Chevy Bolt coming out in just 6 months seems like a horrible value. Hopefully this gets the ball rolling on the 2nd gen LEAF quickly.

    1. KevinZ says:

      I think many people are holding out for the 2nd gen Leaf coming out in 2017.

  4. Someone out there says:

    Cut $5000 off the price and it will sell. Then cut another $5000 when the Bolt arrives to save some of their market until the 200 mile LEAF comes out.

    1. kubel says:

      They are already putting over $10,000 CCR on leases. Now is a great time to buy the 30kWh version if you don’t need 160/220 miles of range that 2017 should bring.

      1. Andrew says:

        That’s exactly what I did!

        And you know in 3 years, they will be begging me to buy it for $7500 or less.

  5. David Murray says:

    Yep.. As somebody who has owned two Leafs (a 2011 and 2013) I can honestly say it’s time is over. Now that it’s 2016 the design is very dated compared to other offerings. It’s one thing to buy a used on really cheap, but honestly, I can’t fathom why anyone would pick a Leaf over a 2nd Gen Volt at this point if buying new. The Volt costs about the same as a Leaf SV or SL model, but you get twice the car for your money. Or as others have mentioned, wait a few months and get a Bolt.

    I suspect Nissan has pretty much given up on the 1st gen Leaf and they are letting it wilt until the 2nd gen comes to market. Which is probably what I would do.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Hmm Leaf SV (MSRP about $1k more than a base Volt):
      – Space
      – Efficiency
      – AER
      – 6.6kW AC charging
      – DCFC charging
      – Heat pump
      – No engine system maintenance

      It’s horses for courses.

    2. phatcat73 says:

      For me, I’m utterly disgusted by Leaf battery degradation. 2013 Leaf (down 12% at 36,000 miles) – Chicago Market. It’s expected, but the useability and range anxiety is on the rise.

      What’s not expected is my 2015 Leaf, 11,000 miles, already being down 10% – Phoenix AZ market. Car is on target to getting a replacement battery.

      And yet I see reports of a Model S user with >110,000 miles with no noticeable range loss.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “What’s not expected is my 2015 Leaf, 11,000 miles, already being down 10% – Phoenix AZ market. Car is on target to getting a replacement battery.”

        Wait, what? Is this the first Lizard battery getting degraded still?

    3. RCM says:

      Depends on what your situation is. If you’re leasing for 2 – 3 years to get you closer to a Model 3 then why would you choose the Volt? Only way that would make sense is if you do a lot of road trips or have an insanely long daily commute. Otherwise why not drive a car that has double the electric range, no engine maintenance, DCFC and an efficient heat pump? Now if you are buying and planning on keeping the car for many years then Volt wins hands down since it doesn’t suffer battery degradation like Leaf does.

  6. Carticle Pannon says:

    Instead of wasting money on advertising, they should have used the funds to offer killer lease deals to folks looking for something to hold them over until the Model 3 has been released.

    I can’t imagine too many people being interested in buying an actual LEAF, considering how the landscape is changing within the next 1-2 years.

  7. Kdawg says:

    This is the same issue the new longer range BMW i3 is going to face.

    1. bukweet says:

      +1

      With the Bolt and the M3 on the horizon, the i3 is not in a good place.

      Seems to me that the age of the EV “city car” is approaching its sunset.

      1. Ryan H says:

        BMW has been making the M3 for many years and it is a direct competitor to the Model 3… let’s be wiser in our abbreviation choices 😉

      2. Just_Chris says:

        I think its the end of the age of the ugly is perhaps coming to an end. I assume that the LEAF (and all the other EU style hatch backs) are going to suffer as other EVs with a more appealing shape to the American market appear anayway.

        If you had a cheap ($20-25k) leaf that looked like a normal car that would sell pretty well. Same goes for the i3, if the BMW 3 series had a 33 kWh battery and a REX option for the sub $45k I think it would also sell very well. When the Prius prime turns up and if it is priced around or below the top trim LEAF then it’s all over until gen 2.

        Once again I find myself saying, Nissan pull your finger out, its 2016 you need something(s) better than the car you were selling in 2010.

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I find it really disappointing that Nissan sat on its hands (and its laurels), and didn’t move to significantly upgrade the Leaf, even though LG Chem started talking about “200 mile” BEVs two years ago.

    Nissan’s current halfway measure of an interim upgrade is being received by would-be buyers for exactly what it is: A stopgap measure. That buyers would avoid it in droves isn’t a surprise, at least not to me.

    Time for Nissan to ditch the now outdated Leaf in favor of a BEV that actually has a battery thermal management system, as well as at least 200 miles of real-world range.

    And it wouldn’t hurt if the new model has a body style that doesn’t fairly scream “wimpmobile”, too!

    1. TomArt says:

      Agreed on all points.

    2. SparkEV says:

      “wimpmobile” LOL! I wouldn’t mind the styling of wimpmobile if it didn’t perform like one. If Leaf had performance of Bolt, I suspect it would’ve done much better.

  9. jelloslug says:

    If I could get a $200 a month 2 year lease on a 30kw Leaf I would do that as a holdover until the Model 3 is shipped.

    1. TomArt says:

      Yeah, starting in 2018, there is going to be a flood of used Leafs, Volts and i3s hit the market. In fact, it may start as early as 2017, when Bolt sales start to climb.

      1. Scott Franco says:

        Starting now. My leaf lease expires in July. I am out of the EV market until the Bolt arrives.

        1. Can Nissan offer a 6 or 9 Month Lease extention? That would help.

      2. jelloslug says:

        There is already a flood of used Leafs. You can get a 2013 “S” with around 20k miles for under $9500 just about anywhere.

    2. Kosh says:

      Yeah, but that deal turns out to be a loss leader. Only with the 3.3 kw charger (and none of those in stock), etc.

      Ends up being closer to $300/mo in reality. Still a good deal though, but you see the point.

  10. SparkEV says:

    I suspect all 80-100 miles range EV took a sales dive, and will continue to do so. People are leasing them while they wait for Tesla 3 or they find other means until they can lease Bolt while they wait for Tesla 3.

    1. przemo_li says:

      Keep on dreaming.

      Not everybody is rich to afford Model 3 / Bolt.

      And Yes You need to be rich to afford one. “Entry luxury sedan” is not there by mistake 😉

      Leafs can be had for half the price of above cars.

      1. jelloslug says:

        The average new car is well over $30k. That’s where the Model 3 and the Bolt are priced.

        1. mr. M says:

          8 People buying 20k$ cars, 1 buys 50k$ car, 1 buys 80k$ car.

          Average Price is 29k$. Still 80% could not afford the “average Price”. Statistics are nice 😉

      2. SparkEV says:

        Leaf SL is only $2500 cheaper than Bolt, and base Tesla 3 will be even closer, maybe even same price as Leaf.

        But obviously, my prediction is wrong for this month based on sales figure. I am amazed why.

  11. RicardoLeaf says:

    If they allow as BMW i3 the upgrade of the batterys for the older versions in the next comming years it will add more security do the buyers, other wise I don´t see any improvement until next version 200 mile range.

    1. Djoni says:

      +10

  12. Ocean Railroader says:

    I think the 2016 Leaf is to little too late. In that Nissan should have put a lot more effort into saving the leaf by releasing a 200 mile version of it when they saw GM test driving Chevy Bolts.

    The 107 mile Nissan Leaf would have been good as a 2012 or 2013 Model. But now it is suffering from the 200 mile range cars coming out.

    1. The 107 mile Nissan Leaf is 1/2 a Tesla Model 3 in range, but with maybe 10% of the extended range usefullness! It might suit those with a demand for a hatchback until the Bolt EV arrives, but we have no idea how fast GM will actually ramp up production of that!

      1. leafowner says:

        And at almost the same price……

  13. Daniel says:

    Not sure why the Volt and Leaf are always compared. It’s silly they are different cars / drivelines etc. BEV is not a PHEV so My guess is that the Nissan Leaf is still the all time best selling BEV in the U.S. probably the world.

    A closer competitor to the Volt would be the C-Max / Fusion plug ins or the BMW I3 Rex.

    1. Da says:

      Despite their differences, they are still cross-shopped quite a lot due to the limited number of plug-ins in that price range.

  14. Ash09 says:

    Boy, the Gen 2 Leaf had better be impressive if Nissan is staying mum about it in light of the Bolt and Model 3’s reveals.

    The longer they wait too, the more sales they’re going to lose to other automakers.

  15. Michael says:

    I wanted a Leaf, but there are three reasons why I never got one.

    I’m not buying any BEV without thermal management. Never gonna happen. I still can’t believe Nissan never fixed that.

    The price has been far too close to the Chevy Volt. Unless you really need that hatchback, I can’t think of a good reason to choose a Leaf over a Volt. Without thermal management, I never considered the Leaf’s longer BEV range as a reliable difference.

    Also, they’ve alway been far too ugly. I don’t mind driving the clown car if there are good reasons to do so, but when the car is on the short end of the stick on most other regards, being ugly is intolerable.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      You might choose the LEAF over the Volt if you don’t want to deal with ICE (smog checks, oil changes, toxic emissions, etc.). But the reason of a hatchback . . . the Volt is a hatchback too!

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “smog checks, oil changes, toxic emissions, etc”

        Smog checks? What smog checks. It has been over 4 years in CA. Still no smog checks yet.

        6 oil change for the guy with 300K miles.

        1 oil change for me with 56K miles… I guess that is too much for you.

    2. Nemo says:

      I don’t see this alleged ugliness, and I don’t want an ICE. But the thermal management issue is why, after years of planning a Leaf as my next car, I ended up going with an i-MiEV instead when the time came. (Well, that, and price.)

  16. Alex says:

    I think it would be a fault if Nissan brings Leaf2 when Bolt comes, better they come end 2017 with more features like wirless charging, Piloted Drive 2.0, perhaps advanced leight weight materials like BMW i3 plastic or a carbon fiber A pilar. The later they bring it the better it will be and the longer it could compete with other new EVs.
    So for 2017 they should announce a new battery with 48 kWh and perhaps stronger engine, but no new Leaf! Better wait until Tesla puts all secrets down…

  17. Kevin C. says:

    Always the pronounced Fear and Loathing and much Wailing and Gnashing of teeth for the poor Leaf.
    Give it a rest and start slashing prices already.

  18. Boris says:

    Any 80 mile EVs are only for EV Geeks (10%) and those who just can’t refuse a bargain (90%). Clear example would be Atlanta where Leaf sold like crazy until they discontinued the $5,000 state rebate. 24 vs. 30 kwh makes almost no difference. It’s either 200 miles EV with proper infrastructure or PHEV with 50-80 miles electric range. That’s it. If priced the same, I would actually opt for the PHEV.

  19. leafowner says:

    Leaf is dead until 200 miler is ready….

    1. leafowner says:

      OR they drop their price SUBSTANTIALLY

  20. Jeffrey Songster says:

    Agree with dropping prices… get the 30Kwh battery into all three models at the lowest possible price. Add a 36 or 42Kwh battery to SL… get 150 plus miles of range ahead of the other guys. Otherwise seems we will watch the Nissan’s hand off their title of #1 in world.

  21. evnow says:

    I can think of a few things that Nissan did wrong
    – 30 kWh model was introduced too late
    – SV vs S price difference is too much ($5K)
    – The lease rates were atrociously high in the beginning. It has come down now, though …

    And then the outside factors
    – Bolt announced
    – Model 3 announced

  22. ModernMarvelFan says:

    LEAF sales are down because Bolt is coming and Model 3 is soon after that.

    Also, plenty of other choices to lease while you wait for BOLT, Model 3 or even LEAF 2.0.

    The current LEAF is just not good enough at current price.

  23. Tilyon says:

    We Can buy a Leaf till Tesla 3 or the Bolt are available and you Will be please while you are waiting.

  24. mr. M says:

    Charging Speed seems irrelevant to customers then.

  25. wavelet says:

    I wonder what’s delaying Nissan’s Leaf 2.0 (the ~200mi AER version)…

    Right now it looks like they’re losing mindshare and their first-mass-market-mover advantage rapidly.

    Near-term, they should make all Leafs with the 30kWh battery, and only minimally increase price, simply to keep selling ’em.

  26. Jose says:

    If the 200 mile Nissan Leaf 2, is still to far away in the future, then next year model should have a facelift and the basic model S should come with 30 KW battery with the same basic price. Models SV and SL should come with 36 Kw if they want to keep the $5,000 difference with the S model. This might work in the meantime.

  27. Ian says:

    A lot of us took a chance on the 24kwh LEAF knowing that improvements would eventually come. I cannot justify loosing money trading up to a 30 kWh to then trade up to a 60kwh LEAF. Since the model 3 will be sold out until 2020 I will have to wait until Nissan gets their act together and sell a 60 kWh version.

  28. Just_Chris says:

    I was thinking about this today, Nissan aren’t selling any leafs in the US because they aren’t making any leafs. Something is not adding up. Why aren’t their massive numbers of leafs piling up at dealerships? They haven’t sold well for months. Are they just giving up for 12 months until gen 2? It seems to be a US thing with the leaf selling/making OK in other regions.

    Any theories? When is the 2017 leaf going to be released?

  29. Glenn says:

    The Leaf would work for me if i could just buy a Chademo Single phase charger with a variable 25kW to 50kW charger. Then I would ba able to drive my hundred miles each day without range anxiety.

    So all Nissan Really needs to do is to make Chademo for consumers. I for one do not want a free ride on other’s provision of charge. I just need to be able to fill up at my own garage. Very very quickly.

    So PLEASE BRING ON THE CHADEMO THAT I MAY BUY NOW!!!!!!

  30. Glenn says:

    if DCFC DCQC were available then I expect that many stations would pop up everywhere.