Nissan Enters 2017 With Aging LEAF, But US Sales Remain Steady In January

10 months ago by Jay Cole 35

While the anticipation for Nissan was to be debuting the upgraded LEAF in the US for January, all we got was a “Nissan Intelligent Mobility” autonomous demonstration

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed a “new” LEAF was coming soon from CES…but disappointed in not actually showing it off

With 2016 now in the books, Nissan looks ahead to 2017, but still with its aging first generation offering holding down the fort until the “new” LEAF arrives soon (Nissan’s words).

For the first month of 2017, Nissan sold 772 LEAFs, which represents a 2% improvement over a year ago.

January’s ‘beat’ of the previous year’s number is actually the 5th straight month Nissan has accomplished the feat – after posting a record streak of 20 consecutive losing months in 2015 and 2016.

Interestingly, the main driver to new sales was not the 30 kWh offering itself, that version under-performed right out of the gate, but rather it was the removal of the 24 kWh option and a pricing cut across the reaming 30 kWh lineup for the LEAF brand.

The base 30 kWh model (S) moved down ~$3,500 to $30,680 (+DST), and that almost immediately resulted in the mini-sales resurgence we see today.

Nissan has seen its market share drop over the past couple years in the US

With that said, the decision by Nissan to cut pricing came too late to save 2016 for the LEAF.

Sales ended 2016 at 14,006, which was off close to 20%.

Just by looking at the sales chart (above), one can see the pretty devastating effect the decision to not introduce the next generation LEAF in a timely fashion was, as the press surrounding other long range offerings (Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3) has decimated the Nissan’s standing as the all-electric market leader in the US.

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35 responses to "Nissan Enters 2017 With Aging LEAF, But US Sales Remain Steady In January"

  1. Kevin Cowgill says:

    Carlos Carlos Carlos!

    Sad.

    However, You and Nissan could begin to make amends by bringing back zero down and $99/month bat-guano crazy lease deals.
    It’s the lease you can do…

    1. Dave Erb says:

      North Carolinian residents can get $10K cash on the hood from Nissan, at least through 31 March. When you count the $7500 tax credit, a friend just bought a brand new 30 kWh Leaf for $13,500, total (including tax, tags, etc.). Ironically, he used the NC rebate at a South Carolina dealership.

      http://www.pluginnc.com/resource/nissan-10000-rebate-north-carolina-residents/

      1. BenG says:

        Thank you for this heads-up. Great deal.

        So any NC resident can use that deal? Don’t have to be a member of any organization?

        1. Dave Erb says:

          Correct. Any NC resident is eligible. Just take the form below (from the Plug-In NC website) with you when you go to the dealer.

          http://www.pluginnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Plug-In-NC-Nissan-LEAF-Incentive.pdf

      2. David Murray says:

        Dang.. that’s freakin amazing. Makes me want to go buy one, even though I don’t need another car! It is hard to believe people aren’t buying these up like crazy.

    2. JackDFW says:

      WOW!

      Currently the retail incentive is $4,000, but under
      this program Plug-in NC Stakeholders are eligible for a $10,000 rebate. That’s 2 ½ times the rebate available to other
      retail customers.

      Combined with the Federal EV Tax Credit of $7,500, Stakeholders enjoy net savings up to $17,500.

      WOW!!

  2. Anon says:

    Can’t be much juice left in that Turnip, to squeeze…

    1. cmina says:

      I’m still impressed by their results, but from what I understand it cost them a lot to even achieve their current standing ..

      http://www.hybridcars.com/tesla-model-s-is-worlds-best-selling-plug-in-car-for-second-year-in-a-row/

      1. BenG says:

        It is impressive, especially considering global results only narrowly trailed the Model S for leading plug-in sales in 2016.

        Cumulative global sales of 250,000 is also impressive for the LEAF.

        I expect them to keep incentives high and so continue to sell Gen 1 Leafs at a respectable clip until August when it will be replaced by the Gen 2.

        1. Mikael says:

          Global result was higher for the Leaf. It was the global best seller in 2016.

  3. Big Solar says:

    the 30 should have been available in Jan 2015

    1. Bret says:

      I agree with this 100% Big Solar.

      I also feel the Leaf should have the Zoey’s 40KWh battery right now.

      The Leaf is a great car, but the range is way too limited for many drivers. It’s sad to see Nissan only selling 700 Leafs per month, when they should be selling thousands.

  4. CLIVE says:

    Love ❤️ Leaf

    Leaf 2.0 is going to rock !!

  5. Brian says:

    Way back in the day, Nissan had said that the Leaf 2.0 would arrive around the end of their Power-88 plan. That plan ends (or at least was supposed to end) on March 31, 2017.

    Anyone want to wager on the next Leaf actually arriving in Q2?

    Personally, I think the Bolt caused a small delay. It is so good that Nissan needed to tweak the Leaf to remain competitive. That delay could be up to 6 months, resulting in a Leaf 2 release in Q4 this year. This is all my own speculation, of course, and hardly worth anything. But if true, we should see a truly impressive leap for Leaf 2 right around the time that Bolt sales are leveling off to their steady state. Could lead to some solid competition, in which case the consumers win.

    1. Kenz says:

      I think you’re likely spot on.

      1. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

        Same with me

    2. Alan says:

      Geneva could be interesting perhaps !

    3. Ivan says:

      You are right about the new Leaf 2 release date. The reason why Nissan delayed new Leaf is because they still have a lot of unsold older units. They didn’t want to kill the sale which is the reason why they didn’t introduce new model @ CES. Aperently new model is completely redesigned.

  6. PHEVfan says:

    Way to look at the glass half full. 2% improvement over last January. Never mind that last January was the lowest result they’ve had in the last 4 YEARS!
    Wow, Nissan, great work. You beat the worst you’ve done. What next? /sarcasm/

  7. DEVIN J SERPA says:

    They need to have a 30kwh and 60kwh. And then they should buy ChargePoint. Then we’ll talk.

    1. William says:

      Best idea yet. Come to think of it, that might put Nissan back on the front burner! It’s going to take quite a feat to make the Chevy Bolt yesterday’s News.

      Interesting to see how long Nissan will milk the 2017 Leaf before the 2018 60 kWh Leaf 2.0 reveal.

    2. Mister G says:

      Devin, if you were CEO of Nissan, would you be excited about selling and upgrading a product that sells 100,000 (leaf) units per year or would you be excited about a product that sells millions (ICE) of units per year? My point is buy/lease a current Leaf to get an upgraded leaf in the future…I did. I’m tired of all the lame weak excuses to not drive an EV today. Grow a set.

      1. Bret says:

        I leased a 30K Leaf in November, while I’m waiting for a Model 3. I got two years of No Charge to Charge, so they handle that pretty well.

        My advice to Devin is to lease a Bolt instead. Unless you just drive around town, the 107 miles runs out pretty fast.

        1. Maybe the LEAF could offer the base S with a 30 kWh pack, mid level with a Zoe 40 kWh pack, and Premium with a 60 kWh Pack?

          107 Miles, 145 Miles, & 215 Miles Range: would be a great transition offer, until they see exactly what sales numbers deliver! Just like Tesla offered Model S originally with 40, 60, & 85 kWh, until they saw only about 4%-5% wanted the 40!

          Then, if sales of the 30 kWh LEAF stunk, they could just stop making it, and offer some great cash or lease deals to empty the lots!

          The question then is, would people buy the 40 kWh LEAF or not, with the 60 kWh choice in front of them? And, what battery would they put in the base LEAF S?

  8. BenG says:

    Hmm playing with some numbers here: 7 years of production and global sales of the Leaf has them at 250,000 sold. If they invested $1 billion dollars in developing and capital investment in the car (wild ass guess), then that investment is now down to a manageable $4,000/car.

    If you look at the car as more or less a Versa Note with a 30kwh battery pack that costs Nissan about $7500, then modestly profitable retail sales price for them is around $15,000 (cost of Versa Note) + $4000 (development and capital investment) + $7500 (30 kwh battery pack at $250/kwh) = $26,500.

    With the capital investment a sunk cost we can set that aside, and if we take off, say, $3,000 off the cost of Versa for eliminating the ICE, transmission, emissions and exhaust system, then Nissan might be able to make a modest profit selling the Leaf at $20,000 – as we see evidenced by them offering a $10,000 rebate in NC right now which would put a base Leaf right around $20k.

    Then if you can take off the $7500 federal tax credit you are down to serious economy car territory of $12,500, with an incredibly low operational expense going forward.

    The Leaf has become one of the most affordable new cars that you can buy!

    1. BenG says:

      Of course looking at Auto Trader, I see multiple 2015 Leafs with less than 30,000 miles on them for sale in Georgia for less than $8000. I guess they are probably 24 kwh models, but still … that’s some hella depreciation. So even if you can get one for $12,500 new (after tax credit) you are still going to see it depreciate some.

  9. BenG says:

    Update on Consumer Reports reliability rating of the Leaf: all model years are rated better than average or much better than average (2011 and 2015). This is good news, as previously there were a couple years rated below average, if I’m not mistaken.

    1. BenG says:

      So maybe some of that oft discussed (and mostly hypothetical so far) maintenance and reliability advantage of full electric cars is beginning to show up for the Leaf. Nissan isn’t exactly known these days for making the most reliable cars, so it’s very good news the Leaf is proving to be above average as the years and experience accumulates.

  10. Art Collier says:

    Turned in a 2013 LEAF last Saturday after leasing for 3 1/2 years. Tried to lease a 2016 LEAF since 2nd Gen isn’t in sight. The deal wasn’t near I got back then for a marginally improved car.

  11. ModernMarvelFan says:

    So, what happened to the so called surprising release at NAIAS?

    Nissan didn’t show up? Or did they focus on their gas cars.

    Last I heard that Jan sales were a great month for Nissan due to its SUV and truck sales…

  12. Murrysville EV says:

    Nissan lost me after owning my 12 Leaf.

    I loved the car, but its horrendous depreciation, lying gas gauge, terrible navigation system, serious battery degradation, poor cold weather range, and clueless dealer were enough to make me wait for my Model 3.

    1. BenG says:

      A new 2017 for $20k minus federal tax credit will take care of pretty much every one of those issues.

  13. Bill Howland says:

    4 months ago I was seriously trying to buy a Used Leaf, but there were none available in my area for sale within driving distance to the nearest public docking station.

    The guy I ended up buying a used 2002 volt from, got a LEAF instead by flatbedding it from Maryland to Buffalo since they had much cheaper used vehicles. But then he also had a big SUV and a trailer to do the flatbedding.

    I guess the Leaf sells well worldwide – but the battery is looking even more shoddy these days – too small, and wears out too fast anyway.

    GM I congratulate because even though they just make mostly cheap evs or phevs, they don’t compromise battery longevity.

    Now, with a 238 mile Bolt (which is advertised as over 300 miles in Europe) which is ALSO prety cheap, AND a long-life – Nissan better get cracking soon or they won’t be the most popular EV next year.

  14. Rhaman 68 says:

    Amazingly how objections go away when the “price is right” as to the Leaf. Like all cars, it has its designed limitations built into its objective: a city car, a commuter vehicle. Range? Sure, the 2011/14 battery & software needed improvement. That got done. But the Bolt with its 235 mile range also has limits. Compare the two and the Bolt wins but try to go out of the city or region requires “slow” fast charging on a CCS unit and it is no Tesla. So, a city car with 109 mile range or 235 mile range will sell based on pricing: Bolt wins in 2017. But for many, like myself, an used 2011/2013 Leaf ($5,000 to $7,000 plus a new battery, $6,500) beats $35,000 except for state with rebates, is a good value. Resale? Do not intend to sell. I have a 2001 Audi that is also not for sale. Electric cars are different but the market does not recognize this. How? With solar, as I have, fuel costs are zero, no other maintenance, oils,filters, timing chains, coolant, transmission, etc. The rules are changing. So many are buying SUV’s not needed (sure, some do) to drive to work/shopping/visits, that cost over $2,000 a year for gas. Students,retirees, those that do not travel by car or have another car, will benefit greatly driving a Leaf. That is the secret. Future? Look at UK and Norway as to EV development of infrastructure. That is the future but today. Love my Leaf. Cheers.