Nissan LEAF Sales Strong In US For May, Despite Next Gen Debuting In 3 Months

5 months ago by Jay Cole 24

The First Of Several Teaser Images Promised By Nissan Leading Up To The Models Full Reveal In September

Get ready for some more deals!

2nd Gen Nissan LEAF mule: the 2018 Nissan LEAF is said to ultimately offer a ~41 kWh and a 60 kWh battery

Rather than have a slow and orderly wind-down of current generation sales, Nissan continued to overbuild and discount its first generation model to market demand right into the company’s Summer shutdown in Smyrna, TN.

For May, Nissan sold 1,392 LEAFs, a strong 42% gain over the 979 sold a a year ago.

The results gives Nissan 5,742 sales so far in 2017.  That figure represents a sturdy 22% gain from 2016 when 4,697 were moved.

Interestingly, the ancient LEAF and brand-new Chevrolet Bolt EV (which is also seeing some $3k+ discounting in May) are near neck-and-neck for YTD sales – with Chevy holding a 208 unit lead (5,950 sold).

And while the new Nissan LEAF is scheduled to make its full debut at a special event in Tokyo on September 6th, Nissan “dialed production up to 11” (relative to the pool of would-be 1st gen LEAF owners) at the company’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant in order to get the most out of the final days of assembly.

AEP Ohio Utility Customer? How About An Extra $10k Off A LEAF Purchase?  The go ahead and deduct the $7,500 federal rebate too (Hat tip to Christopher L)

In order to move these more than ample, end-of-line LEAFs (some ~3,500 and counting in stock atm) the company has done what one might expect…break out the red pen and mark them down.

For example, in Oklahoma, one can pick up a new 2017 LEAF for $13,180 after incentives and rebates!

Where will sales go from now until this Fall?  Apparently with pricing being no object, and some built inventory depth, gains will continue to be sussed out.

We should note that we have learned the 2018 model year LEAF’s order bank opens in mid July, with an expected delivery date of December.

However, the real question still is:  What will the 2018 LEAF package offer? And what will 2nd generation sales look like?

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24 responses to "Nissan LEAF Sales Strong In US For May, Despite Next Gen Debuting In 3 Months"

  1. bro1999 says:

    I’m really curious what the lease/buy ratio is for Leafs. It has to be overwhelmingly leases (like 90%+).

    1. test says:

      I’d expect overwhelmingly leases for all electric cars at this point, excluding Tesla.

      1. BenG says:

        Some people just prefer to own a car instead of rent it.

        And, as we get closer to the end of the year, people will be looking to buy to take full advantage of the federal tax credit.

        Sure Leafs have had crummy resale value, but when you can buy a new one for $14,000 after the rebate and tax credit, then there’s no way you can get financially hurt if you plan on driving it for 5 years.

      2. mx says:

        A Sales person said Bolt is 60/40 Lease/Buy.

        If you’re older a full spec Bolt could be your last car.

  2. Alan says:

    It’s amazing that Nissan has managed to keep pace with the Bolt and hold on so well until 2.0 arrives, yes are are discounting heavily but brand loyalty counts for a lot in this game.

    1. vin says:

      Based on the dealer offer data I collected last week, the average cost for a 10K mi/yr 3-year Bolt LT lease is about $295/mo, which is not bad. But the average cost of a LEAF S is about $190/mo, and that’s for 12K mi/yr. Perhaps many folks realize they don’t need the extra range of the Bolt and would rather save $100/mo, and/or would rather have more space behind the rear seats to haul stuff.

      1. Assaf says:

        Space, money, you nailed it.

        A week ago we saw a Bolt up close, and within 2 days closed on a new Leaf lease (our 3rd consecutive one). The deal was even better than what you have on your site, thanks to loyalty and employer incentives, as well as dealer magic.

        So we’re part of the statistics for May…

        btw, just learned about your site the other day, thanks for all your work! Must take a ton of time.

        1. vin says:

          Thanks Assaf! Yes it takes some time to put together, especially at the beginning of the month. My wife used to complain, but I keep showing her feedback like yours and she just rolls her eyes and lets me keep going.

          Congrats on the killer deal on your 3rd LEAF. Sounds like you’re a pro at this!

      2. William says:

        Your right, The 2017 Leaf has only about 1/2 the GM Bolt (segment leading) driving range (under $50K). With the bonus of the extra 20% Leaf Lease mileage allowance, combined with the approximately 1/3 less overall cost out of pocket to Lease than the Bolt, it is among the value EV Lease leaders. The Free Two year Nissan “No Charge To Charge” is an added savings bonus, if you can’t charge overnight at your residence. The Leaf storage space is a little more accommodating than the Bolt as well.

        The Bolt is a lot of FUN to drive if you can justify the added expense for its added acceleration fun factor, and 2X Leaf range boost. Just make sure you find that the driver seat shoulder area fits/ meets your upper torso comfort specs. They are a bit snug/tight fit for some of us.

        1. John Ray says:

          Count me among those who may pick up a 2017 at switch-over time. My ’12 Leaf has been great, but I will need something soon as I am passing it to my daughter. I won’t know what to do with 107 miles of range. I certainly don’t need 238.

  3. Kevin C says:


    How many MY17 Leafs is Smyrna producing per month? For how much longer?
    When will the production madness stop? Well, at least the MY17.

    I would seriously like to see a glut of Leafs so I can snag a righteous lease deal even in a red state.

    1. Jay Cole says:


      Usually that is actually something we can have some clarity with…but not so much with the 2017 LEAF as there was no hard and fast timing given. FWIW we learned that initial open orders on the 2018 MY start in mid July (although they are skedded to arrive until late in the year), they are probably closed now.

      One assumes a typical Summer shutdown/conversion in Smyrna. Given the December ETA on the 2018, one imagines they have a “whack” (technical term) penned up in TN atm.

      1. Assaf says:

        Thanks Jay!

        Actually following your info, it sounds like the dealer spoke full truths. Specifically he said to me:

        – new Leaf actual deliveries December
        – He expects to run out of 2017s by end of August

        Given that he is one of the volume leaders, that might be true for him, while in other locations inventory might linger longer.

        Volume leaders might try to haul in 2017s from other corners of the country, if there’s still local demands and if $$ can be made from that.

        Anyway, seems like Nissan this time is trying to fine-tune its inventory push and left-over inventory levels to taper down, so that they are not left with a glut after Gen 2 details are fully known.

        1. Assaf says:

          oops this was supposed to be posted below Jay’s other reply 😉 was it me, or was it the site? Happened to me a few times recently

      2. John Ray says:

        Jay – I have heard rumors in the past that the old Leaf may soldier on alongside the new model. Any truth to that?

        1. Jay Cole says:

          As far as the US goes, definitely not going to happen…with that said, I can’t speak for the other 3 plants currently building the LEAF/Morning Wind (China) and what their wind-down dates are.

    2. BenG says:

      These are amazing deals we’re seeing, but probably not enough to pull me into the new-car buyer pool for the first time unless they go even lower.

      Instead I’ll look forward to the incredible deals we’ll see on used 2017 Leafs when this flood of affordable product comes off of lease in 2019 and 2020.

  4. Assaf says:

    Jay, the dealer who signed our Leaf lease last weekend claimed that Gen 1 production had stopped… he was actually worried of running out, b/c he also thought there will be a few months’ gap with *NO* Leaf production, and then the new ones won’t actually reach dealers before December

    What do you know about that?



    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Assaf seems right,

      Nissan is going into a extended Summer shutdown soon, and we found out earlier this month that the order system (closed) for the 2018 MY gets underway in ~week 3 of July. The expected first arrival date is week 1 of December.

      Seems to be a lot of interest in this in the comments, so we’ll go back and add this info into the original story.

      As for your dealer’s story about gen 1, and being out of stock/worried…that kinda sounds like dealer speak/half-truths. Nissan has about ~3,000 LEAFs on dealer lots right now, perhaps another 2k+ penned up/in transit.

      Given the 2018 MY gets its big reveal/spec dump September 6th, and that is only ~97 days away, the mix seems about right.

      There will definitely be a depression/hole in the Sept/Oct/Nov numbers, but that is as much a function of demand/focus on the 2018, as people wanting the “old and busted” for cheap…they will more than get their opportunity this Summer to hook that up.

  5. JackDFW says:

    I just bought a 2017 Leaf SV.

    I leased a 2013 and a 2015 Leaf S ( great deal based on resale values… I had never leased before).

    I only drive my Leafs about 6000 miles a year as I drive less than 15 miles round trip to work and charge in my garage using my solar panels. And I think the Leafs are fun to drive, very fast off the line.

    I have a pickup as my ice car for long trips and heavy loads.

    I bought the 2017 Leaf SV because I got the $10,000 Nissan and $7,500 Fed rebate plus dealer discount…I paid less than $14,000 before TX sales tax and title (after rebates).

    I was thinking of getting a Bolt but even at 238 mi range it could not be my only vehicle. My new 2017 with approx 20 more miles range than my 2015 should work well for the next few years.

  6. Terawatt says:

    Incredible deals on the LEAF in the US market! Certainly nothing like that in Norway, although it still sells pretty well. The 30 kWh version now starts at 210 kNOK, which is $24,800 at the current exchange rate.

    I wonder what a used one will cost in a couple of years. Not much, that’s for sure!

  7. Jason says:

    With 100mi range and CHAdeMO network across the US, a new Leaf due $15k sounds like an awesome deal. If you can travel 80mi and get a 20min charge, that is lot of options. I wish I could get this in Australia. 160km range would suit almost all my needs, and if there was CHAdeMO network then I could go everywhere I need to in the Leaf. So envious of the US and Europe experience when it comes to EV’s and charge networks.

    1. unlucky says:

      Realistically, even with the CHAdeMO network the range on the LEAF is limited to about 50% more than a Bolt with no charging at all. The pack has no cooling and each time you DCFC it it heats up. If the day starts up nice and cool you might be able to DCFC it 4 times in a day at the outside before it starts to get near the red zone where the DCFC rates plummet.

      105+80+80+80+80 for 425 miles. It’s more than enough for most uses but it does mean the breadth of the network isn’t as useful as it might seem. Especially since in my experience it the pack doesn’t even fully cool down overnight (8 hours) so if you want to do it again the next day you start out already a bit behind the eight ball.

      I think even Nissan probably knows they should work on this but I also fully expect the “3rd gen” LEAF to be barely more change from the 2nd gen as the 2nd gen was from the 1st. I think we have to wait a bit longer to see one which is truly rethought.

  8. RobM says:

    We bought our new Leaf in April.

    Reasons for buying:
    * Current model provided enough range for what we need
    * Price was discounted nicely, especially with Ontario rebates
    * Needed a car NOW and desired full electric
    * Bolt sold out/not available. Extra range wasn’t worth the extra price (25% more $)
    * We expected the new Leaf to be more expensive than the current model

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