Nissan LEAF Sales In June Stay Depressed In The US

JUL 1 2016 BY JAY COLE 26

Nissan LEAF Sales in 2016: weak in the US, strong worldwide

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 multiple battery choices for next generation LEAF, including the 60 kWh battery shown here at right (current 30 kWh pack on left)

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)

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 sales in Japan (through May); nothing like the story being told in the US

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

*- unlike in the US, sales of the LEAF in Japan continue to be strong this year (up 70%), while also still leading the overall sales race worldwide after the first 4 months

Categories: Nissan, Sales

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26 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Sales In June Stay Depressed In The US"

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I’m curious what the breakdown is of 24Kwh vs. 30kwh sales. If most of the sales are 30 Kwh at this point, then we can assume that if Nissan had not introduced the new battery, the car would be selling much worse than it is currently.

However, I suspect the Osborne effect is probably at play here, and not necessarily even from Nissan’s own product. While I’m sure some people are holding out for Leaf 2.0, I would imagine most people are doing one of two things:
1) Buying an existing competing product, such as a Chevy Volt.
2) Holding out for the Tesla Model III or Chevy Bolt EV.

I would bet no one is buying and the % of leases has gone up. And if you’re leasing, 24kwh probably does the trick.

Unless you NEED the 30kwh, you’re better off buying a used 2013 Leaf. I got mine, an SV, for $9700. Added 2000 miles so far and am at 37,000 with 12 bars still. Bargain of the year.

@KenZ, people in California are reporting getting the 2016 SV (107 miles, brand-new) for $15k after incentives.

Sounds like an even greater bargain for me.

But yes, used 13-14 SV are a great buy right now, esp. as a starter vehicle for people on a budget, b/c no other big expenses besides insurance.

@Assaf- For some that might be a better deal, but I thought about it and rejected it. First off, I moved it out of Cali so I wouldn’t get $2500 back from the state, making it over $7.5k more expensive. And then another ~$500 of sales tax. For that amount of money, I could buy ANOTHER used SV a year from now. That’s a two for one. Plus, the residual value of any 70-80 mile EV is going to be approaching $0 in five years, whether it be a 2016 or a 2013. So while I seriously thought about buying new, since this is going to be used as a strictly there and back commuter vehicle which I’ll drive into the ground and never resell, buying new, even if only $5k more expensive, isn’t worth it.

Yeah I would not mind a 30kw upgrade now that my 2011 battery is at 43.54amp hours.

It should be added that some dealers, despite the low inventory, are actually offering amazing deals on the 107-mile Leaf.

A chap on LeafOwners reported that his daughter in California is getting a brand-new one for $25k, which means $15k out-of-pocket after incentives. It’s something called “The Costco price”, even though she’s gotten it from a dealer.

At this kind of price, even if you have no state incentives in your state, if you need a car this summer rather than wait another year, then it’s a total steal.

Probably the Costco Auto program- if you have a membership, special pricing on certain cars, a couple thousand off msrp with no haggling. That’s how I got my 2016 Volt last year, 2300 off msrp, plus I got a $700 costco gift card for taking a 10 minute phone survey about the experience.

Jay where you got that “… as Nissan has designed the next generation pack to basically be interchangeable between the old and new platforms?” ?

I haven’t seen nothing nowhere so far about that, and unfortunatly, many source that say’s othewise.

Hopefully Nissan will offer a pack between 30 kWh and 60 kWh which is not to expensive. If this option is a few thousands cheaper than Bolt or Model 3 it could be a bestseller.

That would be a classic marketing-framing tactic.

They would be complete idiots to do otherwise. And we too, will strongly contemplate a 40-something KWh Leaf rather than a 60KWh one.

Thanks for sharing the Dan Ariely link. I enjoy his books and his way of thinking about human psychology.

with a 35kwh usable battery in the actual leaf,there would be a long order list .
the 30kwh makes 50km(30miles)more,thats not worth to buy a new leaf.
i will wait until dec,and then decide what the next car will be.
right now,the BMW i3 with 33kwh and range extender is my favorite.
sorry nissan,i love my leaf,but hate the stupid nissan managers

In the mean time there are killer deals on used LEAFs That may be a significant diversion from new sales for people interested in the car. One thing I keep pointing to them is with the CHAdeMO port the LEAF is becoming more practical as new stations are coming online and existing ones are getting a second charger.

Yeah, for commuters that want to eliminate their gasoline bill, picking up a used LEAF is a great move. They are inexpensive and you can fuel them for pennies a mile. I lots of people do this. This is the real ‘trickle down’ effect of the $7500 tax credit.

Lots of people can effectively pick one up for free by parking their current gas guzzler and taking out a loan for a used LEAF. Their loan payment may be less than what they were paying for gasoline.

Stopping and waiting for the competition to pass you when you hold the sales lead is not a strategy, its a mistake.

I just turned my 2013 leaf lease in. They made a half hearted attempt to sell me another lease. There were about 10 leafs in the back inventory, down from dozens earlier (see my photos of the high point from this same dealer).


Dealerships don’t make much on Leaf maintenance, why push leafs?

The era of ~80 mile range EVs is coming to an end, folks. They have served us well as nice little commuter vehicles.

But to grow the plug-in sector, we now need pure EVs with 150 to 300 miles of range. Or PHEVs like the Volt. The 30KWH LEAF was not enough of a bump up.

It’s all about the timing and the relative market framing in every market.

Remember that in 2013, the 84-mile Leaf was a hit, even though it offered only 11 miles over the 2012 (and it wasn’t even rated 84 miles by the EPA, which penalized Nissan for still recommending the 80% charge level unless you need the 100%).

107 miles is tangibly more than 84, and still more than anything else in the mid- and budget-market. It’s just that the American EV consumer mindset has moved on, expecting much greater things very soon.
As Jay points out, in Japan and in Europe (where the Leaf faces way more *current* head-to-head competition than here), the 107-mile Leaf is rather successful.

It could have been more successful here, had it launched 6-12 months earlier. But Nissan is a big and global company, and Ghosn plays the long game. Their next winning move might be to scoop GM and Tesla in the game the latter had started. Hopefully this time they won’t be 6-12 month late once again.

Few comments on the 2013 leaf being ahit.

One they did make lots of tweaks to the car including a new drivetrain configuration, heat pump heater etc.

The thing that put it over the top however weer the lease deals.

I rejected a 2011 lease deal, it was $450/month. The $200 / month lease deals that came in 2013 were a steal and people switched from buying to leasing at very low lease rates. Those rates were lower than comparable gasoline cars with the same msrp. Nissan subsidized the sales.

There have bee no improvements in the LEAF since 2013 and competition has arrived. The 30kWh LEAF just wasn’t enough to entice a resurgence in sales. Add to this that its too early to know if the 2015MY improved battery chemistry is much better than the old or not.

2011/12 cars with worn out batteries are depressing sales due to uncertainty in the technology. Once bitten twice shy.


How many 30kWh units are being churned out of the factory per month, in the states? Has production ground to a halt?

Do you think sitting idle at the dealership for 8-12 months will negatively impact this battery? (Here in the moderately temperate Northwest)
Thanks for keeping us informed on this little loved car:-)
All SV and SL owners are incouraged to give their 2 cents.

Here in Australia they only just sold the last new 2012 LEAF last month. I can tell some owners I know lost their first capacity bar within 4000 miles after buying a car that’s been sitting in the yard for close to four years.

Nissan Australia did such a good job. Even offering it only with a beige interior, basically never a colour ordered by an Aussie buyer. I can’t believe they still wanted 40k for them.