Not Often Seen In December: An Empty Tesla Sales Boutique

Not Often Seen In December: An Empty Tesla Sales Boutique

It Is Only 2 Seats, It Comes In Convertible...And Smart Sold 351 One Of Them In Winter!

It Is Only 2 Seats, It Comes In Convertible...And Smart Sold 351 One Of Them In Winter!

The books on the 2014 year for sales closed in a big way in December as a new record for plug-in vehicles was set.

For the month an estimated total of 12,874 EVs were sold in America, which bested the previous high of just over 12,000 set earlier this year in March. As always, Tesla refuses to break out individual monthly sales so there is a still the potential for a little variance in that number as we are forced to compile their sales based on the data that is available to us.

That being said, Tesla sold a lot of cars in December (mostly the new P85Ds that went into production in late November) - we put their sales at 3,500 Model S sedans, which was not only good for top performer of the month, but the best single month result for any EV to date in the US.

Editor's Note:  For more info on the how and why behind Tesla's big month check out our recap for the company inside our monthly sales scorecard

Not to be out done, Nissan sold 3,102 LEAFs themselves, just off their own all-time high of 3,186, which was set in August. For the year, the Nissan LEAF became the first EV to sell more than 30,000 copies (30,200) in any calendar year, in any country.

December also showed the greatest splits in favor of the pure electric vehicle (BEV) over the plug-in hybrids/extended rangers (PHEV), with the BEVs taking an almost 2:1 advantage.

For the year an estimated 119,710 plug-in vehicles were sold, good for a 23% increase from 2013 when 97,501 were purchased according to our records.

The Nissan LEAF Is Selling Well You Say? What Gave It Away? (hat tip to Scott f)

The Nissan LEAF Is Selling Well You Say? What Gave It Away? (hat tip to Scott f)

It Appears That The Arrival Of The Cayenne S E-Hybrid Is Merely Taking Sales From Sister Panamera Plug-In For Porsche

It Appears That The Arrival Of The Cayenne S E-Hybrid Is Merely Taking Sales From Sister Panamera Plug-In For Porsche

There was a few other pleasant surprises during December:

  • 6 models hit yearly highs
  • the smart ED sold 351 copies - which represents 36% of the total sales for the smart brand
  • the BMW i3 returned to 4 digits (1,013) for the month
  • the Mercedes B-Class ED finally showed some life after only selling 448 cars in its first 5 months on the market, 326 were sold in December
  • VW doubled e-Golf sales (237) in the EV's second month on the market
Unfortunately, not all was great, and there was disappointments as well:
  • the Chevrolet Volt and Prius PHV both underwhelmed for the 4th consecutive month as their parent companies' pretty much both signalled they were going to burn off the months (by not producing cars) until their respective next generation vehicles debuted in 2016
  • the Ford Focus EV, despite a $6,000 MSRP cut two month ago (down to $29,995) AND throwing thousands more on the hood, managed to sell only 53 copies /woof
  • and Porsche learned that the new (and $20,000 cheaper) plug-in Cayenne is basically just cannibalizing Panamera S e-Hybrid sales
  • the Mitsubishi i-MiEV
(More stats below 2014 sales chart)

  (The full monthly recap as well as prior year's historical charts can be found on our "Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard" here)

Some Other Points Of Interest For December 2014:

Mercedes B-Class ED Sales Are Show Some Life In December As More Inventory Arrives For The US

Mercedes B-Class ED Sales Are Show Some Life In December As More Inventory Arrives For The US

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla Motors - 3,500*
  2. Nissan - 3,102
  3. General Motors - 1,739
  4. Ford - 1,501
  5. BMW - 1,171
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In October*
  1. BEV - 8,416 - 65.3%
  2. PHEV - 4458 - 34.7%
New Individual Yearly Highs Set In December (previous high in brackets):
  • Tesla Model S - 3,500* (2,500*) - all time high
  • smart ED - 351 (313) - all time high
  • Mercedes B-Class ED - 325 (193) - all time high
  • Honda Accord PHV - 63 (46)
  • Volkswagen e-Golf - 237 (119) - all time high
  • Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid - 55 (45) - all time high
What lies ahead for next year?  How high can EV sales go?  What will be the stories and cars that define 2015?