Nissan LEAF Sales in 2016: weak in the US, strong worldwide
We have seen this before all too often.
On the cusp of a new generational release, the old model is left to drift sideways, receiving little promotional attention, and with an inventory carefully managed so as not to leave the parent company "holding the bag" when the new model debuts.
Nissan confirmed in June multiple battery options for next generation LEAF, including the 60 kWh battery shown here at right (current 30 kWh pack on left)
For June, 1,095 new copies of the old LEAF found homes in US driveways, which was off 47% from the 2,074 sold a year ago.
If one wants to take any positives away from the month, it was a return to "4 digits" for the first time since March.
One might imagine that a slightly improved 30 kWh/107 mile LEAF would have helped ease any lagging demand for the aging EV; and who knows it might have to some degree, but Nissan is not currently producing and stocking much inventory of the car (in the original 24 kWh style, or new 30 kWh recipe) ... only some ~1,400 copies of the 30 kWh version are in stock today.
Why the low number? Why introduce the 30 kWh LEAF at all if the object was not to sell more EVs?
The answer may lie in an unintentional side effect of preparing for the next generation LEAF for 2017. Our take at this point is that the next gen LEAF will come in a 30 kWh entry trim level and at least one higher trim level, including a 60 kWh level.
Thus, the original chemistry 24 kWh pack is probably going offline shortly, so why not fire up base 30 kWh pack production today and start putting it in the original LEAF today (and of course, charge a few thousand more), as Nissan has designed the next generation pack to basically be interchangeable between the old and new platforms?
Our opinion is that Nissan has moved on from today's LEAF, and whatever product they sell off an aging (and now paid for) production line is gravy.
Nissan LEAF sales in the US hit an all-time low for market share in the US (data through May 2016)
Also of interest with Nissan EVs this month:
Nissan LEAF deliveries in Japan for 2016 (through May); nothing like the sales story being told in the US
*- It was confirmed this month that the next generation of LEAF will come with multiple battery pack options, one of which would be the 60 kWh battery found in the IDS Concept
*- Nissan confirms it will introduce its first range extended, plug-in hybrid compact car by March of 2017, starting in Japan