After seeing some very impressive results for Nissan with the arrival of its new, longer range 2016 LEAF in Japan for January (2,593 sold), we though we might see a significant uptick for the model in the US this month.

Nissan LEAF sales in Japan Blast Off With The New 30 kWh Edition

Nissan LEAF sales in Japan Blast Off With The New 30 kWh Edition

Unfortunately, we did not.

Nissan continues to baffle us with anemic production and a sporadic national roll-out of its 2016 LEAF in 30 kWh trims (107 mile range comes standard on SV and SL trims).

Despite the new model being in its 3rd full month of availability, just ~1,500 copies on average were available for sale in February. Put another way, that is just over 1 LEAF per dealer.

The result was 930 cars sold in February, off 22% from February of a year ago, when 1,198 of the shorter range/24 kWh LEAFs were sold.

For the first two months of the year, sales are off almost 26% (1,685 vs 2,268).

As to speculate the issue behind the lag in LEAF sales, it would seem that either Nissan is having difficulties building out the new 30 kWh batteries (with new chemistry) for its SV/SL trim cars, or its dealers are having a crisis of confidence with the ~$6,000 higher starting MSRP for the EV.   Either way, it is not good.

Heading into March, Nissan has a decent overall inventory of LEAFs (~3,500), but less than half are of the new 30 kWh variety (~1,550) ... and they are distributed very sporadically across the country.

We should note that although we don't actually pit one plug-in versus another, the imaginary "race" (or perhaps "slow-limp"would be a better terminology) between the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF for top selling plug-in for America has returned to a near dead heat, as the Nissan LEAF head a small advantage over the Chevy heading into March 91,276 to 90,872.

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