Erik Gottfried, director of electric vehicle sales and marketing for Nissan North America, was in attendance at a Washington Auto Press Association luncheon.

What Gottfried made known, perhaps for the first time ever, is that Nissan LEAF buyers often cross-shop the Tesla Model S.

Surprised?  We certainly are.

Though both are electric, the two vehicles couldn't be more different.  One's a family-oriented hatchback with a modest price tag and no inclination for being a performance machine.  The other is a near-luxury sedan with a checkbook-swallowing price and performance being its main attraction.

LEAF buyers cross-shop other vehicles too, including the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius, according to Gottfried.

There's even been a few unusual trade ins for the LEAF.  Gottfried recalls an instance where a Ford F-150 owner traded in his gas-chugging truck for a Nissan LEAF.

Aside from cross-shopping, Gottfried discussed buyer demographics, which he says changed significantly after Nissan reduced the LEAF's price for Model Year 2013.

As the Detroit News reports:

"Nissan Motor Co. says the number of female U.S. buyers of its electric LEAF has nearly doubled in recent months, and that the average income and age of buyers has fallen since the automaker cut its price."

"At the beginning of 2013, women accounted for just 10 to 15 percent of LEAF buyers, but that has increased to 25 to 30 percent."

Gottfried adds:

"The early buyers were very heavily skewed male."

"There had been some concern initially of, ‘What if I am by myself and I run out of charge?"

"We’re seeing a normalization in demographics and geographic footprint of the vehicle."

Then there's this mention of global LEAF sales by the Detroit News:

"Nissan had its best ever-sales month worldwide for the LEAF in September and is now on sale in 30 countries and all 50 U.S. states. About 80 percent of its dealers sell the LEAF. Nissan will be launching in China and the LEAF is being rolled out in South Africa. About 85,000 LEAFs have been sold worldwide."

Source: Detroit News

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