Nissan LEAF US Sales Plunge in July

AUG 3 2015 BY JAY COLE 62

Nissan LEAF Sales Steady In July 2015 For US (image via Brian Kent)

Nissan LEAF Sales Fall In July For US (image via Brian Kent)

Much like the Chevrolet Volt in 2015, the Nissan LEAF is also now facing strong sales headwinds from a new and improved model on the horizon – in this case, the 2016 LEAF with an anticipated range jump (to about ~105-110 miles via a 30 kWh battery).

Behold The 2nd Generation Nissan LEAF (no, not really)

Behold The 2nd Generation Nissan LEAF – Ready To Destroy All Petrol Vehicles On The Road (no, not really)

For July, Nissan also had to deal with the end of the lucrative $5,000 incentive program in Georgia that had been responsible for as much as 20% of sales in some months.

Despite being in full inventory sell-off mode, the end result was just 1,174 LEAFs sold.  The second lowest result of the year (Jan – 1,070), and off a huge 61% from July 2014 when 3,019 were moved.

A Nissan spokesperson still put a brave face on the month, mentioning the EV’s previous accomplishments in the US and the world:

“Nissan continues to be the world’s leader in electric vehicles with more than 182,000 LEAFs on the road today—more than 82,000 of those were sold in the U.S.”

Given the disaster that July was for Nissan, we expect the company to finally break silence on the 2016 model upgrades almost immediately – we hear from our sources that 2016 production is underway in Smyrna, TN this week.

Overall for the year, 10,990 LEAFs have been sold, which is still 30% off from the 15,755.

Both the 2016 Nissan LEAF and 2016 Chevrolet Volt are expected to arrive in limited numbers in the second half of September.

In the fictitious race between America’s two best selling plug-ins to eliminate old stock (because everything has to be a competition right?), the LEAF is “leading” by having ~800 units less with about 3,700 on dealer lots.

Nissan LEAF Historical Sales And Percentage Of Plug-In Market Through June 2015

Nissan LEAF Historical Sales And Percentage Of Plug-In Market Through June 2015 (click to enlarge)

Last month, Nissan has actually managed to improve its market share this Summer after a pretty anemic start, returning to 20% in June.   While we don’t have all the numbers yet for July, that number like drops to around 14% this month.

Other bits of interest surrounding the Nissan LEAF for July:

Nissan Releases New Trim Level For LEAF In Europe (Acenta+/Limited Edition)

Nissan Releases New Trim Level For LEAF In Europe (Acenta+/Limited Edition)

* – Next gen Nissan LEAF (or similar EV) rumored to also be available both as a 5-door and a crossover

* – New Acenta+/”Limited Edition” was announced for the 2016 model year in the UK and Europe (details)

* – Boston was added to the company’s “No Charge To Charge” program – good for 2 years free public charging on all new LEAF purchases in the Boston area

* – Nissan 2011/2012 LEAF battery class action is finally settled, affected owners get a better deal with battery replacement now guaranteed new (with 2015 model year “lizard” technology)…and a $50 cheque



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62 Comments on "Nissan LEAF US Sales Plunge in July"

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Ouch. I guess the Georgia market was responsible for a big chunk of lost sales.


I’d say so. I doubt most buyers heard of the LEAF getting the 30kWh pack.


I fully expect the 30 kwh LEAF to gain back all the lost sales plus some

leaf owner

Yup – the loss of the rebate and the addition of the idiotic $200 / year tax on EVs in GA killed ALL sales in the state. Welcome to Mississippi.


Not just GA. WA and LA states also have cut their EV incentives. If NJ puts the sales tax back on, that would hurt further.


Jay @ insideevs still believes that October and onward will be “great” for US sales of plug-ins and the market is guaranteed to heat up. I’d say “be careful of those assumptions” since the two states of GA and WA were highly incentivized in the past few years. Other high gas cost states like CA and NY may need to make up for the loss of the incentives – which were extremely lucrative, such as in GA which was offered on as little as a 2-year lease. I’d like to get my hands on an off-lease 2013 Leaf with fast charging for $9000-11000 or so later this year.

Ocean Railroader

I think what is happening is people are waiting for the new leaf ranges to come out before they buy a used or new one right now. I my self I’m going to buy a leaf or Mitsubishi i-miev but I have several factors I’m waiting for right now. The 900 pound Gorilla that I’m driving around with right now. Is were will my new job pop up at and what kind of new higher battery ranges will the new electric car models have. Also will they offer replacement batteries with the higher ranges that will allow me to upgrade the range of a existing electric car?

If a salutation happens were I end up getting a job that is 80 or 90 miles round trip away from my house. And the new electric car range only goes up by 20 miles I would be on the nervous side to risk it. And would have to wait in till I’m able to move closer to the job.


The 2015’s are selling for about the same price as the off-lease 2013’s. I received $10,000 off MSRP – $5,000 for financing and $5,000 as dealer discount. (I can pay off the financing after 3 payments.) Additionally, I qualify for the $7,500 federal credit, $2,500 CA rebate, plus a local air district $3,000 rebate.
This totals $23,000 in discounts, tax credits and rebates on a Leaf. I purchased a SV for $10,450 plus sales tax and license.
Hard to buy used when the new is the same price.


Everybody with a passing interest in buying one probably has read that a LEAF with a bigger battery is coming soon, same for the updated 2016 Volt.

Except for huge rebates offerings it doesn’t make sense to buy a new 2015 LEAF or Volt at the moment.

Ocean Railroader

I think the Volt might not be in the same boat of trouble as the leaf. In that the Volt has a gas engine that can back it up. And a lot of people if they drive40 to 60 miles a day most likely wouldn’t be to worried about the gas engine kicking in for the last 15 miles of a 60 mile drive.


I think we (enthusiasts) all knew that 2015 would be a bumpy year for plug-ins. There has simply been too much news of next-generation vehicles. I’m sure Nissan is working feverishly to bring the next gen to market ASAP. Hold on tight – the next 12-18 months will remain bumpy, but then the market is set to explode with EVs!

David Murray

Yep.. 3 of the main vehicles right now are going through this transition, Leaf, Volt, and Prius. So sales are certainly in the crapper right now.


And with longer range (200+ mile) BEVs on the horizon like the Bolt and the Model 3, people may be biding their time. (even though we are talking about 1.5 years)

Regulus Black

The PiP is going through a transition? I hope they get a lot more AER to compete with the gen 2 Volt. The Nickel Metal Hydride battery has been shown to have a lot more potential.


The gen2 PiP’s AER will not even be on par with the Gen1 Volt from 2010.


True, but you are kidding yourself if you think the two cars won’t compete. PiP has the advantages of brand recognition and a higher CS MPG (yes, I know that is relatively meaningless, but it’s on the sticker and consumers will see it).

You also have well-informed buyers like myself who have done the math, and realized that a Gen I PiP would save me more gas than a Gen I Volt. I am willing to bet that the Gen II PiP will still be better for me (and my bit of an edge-case) than the Gen II Volt. At least in terms of gas burned. But then I’d have to drive a couch instead of a peppy EV.


I don’t know your driving situation, but you may want to redo the math while looking at opportunity charging. Over the last 5 years, public charging has really expanded.


Suffice to say, any PHEV in my fleet will be a secondary car (the Leaf is primary, hands down). I would almost always drive that car either 5 miles or 250+ miles. According to the EPA sticker, the break-even point for 2015 Volt / 2015 PiP is 129 miles. Both cars use 2.46 gallons of gas to travel 129 miles. Above that, PiP wins, below Volt wins. I would be surprised if the break-even point doubled, after both cars are in their second iteration.

Numbers taken from Fuel
PiP = 6 miles EV / 50 MPG CS
Volt = 38 miles EV / 37 MPG CS

I’m not sure how opportunity charging makes a difference. Even if L2 was available along my route (it isn’t without a detour), I’m not going to stop long enough to make a difference in the middle of a 250 mile road trip.


Like I said, I don’t know your driving situation. You could be driving x miles with a night stay, or have destination charging, or?

Also, even though a PHEV would be your 2nd car, how many trips do you make under 53 miles w/it? Does it just sit there collecting dust until you make a 500 mile trip?


When I drive 250 miles, it’s done in one shot. That’s a 4-5 hour journey and certainly does not require an overnight stay. When I’m not driving over 100 miles with the car, I will be driving less than 10 miles, 5 days a week for commuting. I take very few trips that are more than 70 miles (comfortably doable in the Leaf for most of the year) and less than 129 miles (the break-even point between a Volt and a PiP).

I don’t know why you are belaboring this point. I already admitted that my use case is somewhat of an outlier. Or does it bother you to admit that there exist use cases for which the PiP is better suited than the Volt?


I apologize if that last statement has a sort of ad hominem flavor to it – I promise you that is not my intent.

FWIW, I am an engineer, like yourself. I understand the numbers. I have tracked my driving for several years and run spreadsheets with the various plug-in options against my actual driving. I have found that the PiP is the best (in terms of least gasoline burned), the CMax Energi is second, and the Volt is third. The annual difference is pretty small between the three, but it was surprising to me that it came out that way.


People who are “stuck” on the 129 miles = break even statement must then look seriously at the frequencies of trips above and below. Given that PiP will be burning fuel whenever you exceed 10 miles, put the hammer down, or on freeways travelling faster than 61 mph, the usage models where the PiP burns less fuel than the Volt on an annual basis are essentially non-existant. -WOT


The plug-in Prius has always used a lithium-ion battery.


Regulus Black said:

“I hope they get a lot more AER to compete with the gen 2 Volt. The Nickel Metal Hydride battery has been shown to have a lot more potential.”

NiMH batteries perform well with shallow but very frequent cycling, as needed in a non-plug-in hybrid. They don’t do nearly so well in the deep-cycle charge/discharge mode needed in a BEV. If I understand what I’ve read, the Plug-in Prius uses only li-ion batteries, not NiMH.


Just in the U.S. Though. Worldwide growth has been excellent


Yes, it is an excellent strategy to flatten the growing sales curve of EVs.
Remember that beside Tesla, no other ICE car company prove itself promoting real good EVs at a good price, insufficient number. They are all promises… In my book, 5% increase in range is NOT making efforts, it is greenwashing.


“in sufficient”


You were right the first time: “insufficient”.

(This Grammar Nazi post brought to you by the letter “i”.)


…or not, now that I’ve taken a closer look at the context.


David Murray

I hate to say it.. but I have a sneaking suspicion the new 2016 Volt is going to eat into Leaf sales too. The only thing that will keep the Leaf doing well is this rumored battery upgrade. Nissan might as well spill the beans on it now if it is true.


Honestly, I can’t see the Volt NOT eating into Leaf sales. Nissan almost HAS to increase the battery for 2016 if they plan on continuing to offer the car.

I suspect that the Volt will take a VERY strong lead in the plug-in space for the next 12-18 months, until the next-gen BEVs hit the market. Until then, the ratio of BEVs to PHEVs could go from 1:1 to as low as 1:4. Just my WAG.

Ocean Railroader

The volt having 53 miles of EV only range would slaughter the plug in Prius along with the existing 80 mile range Nissan Leaf.

Steve Strange

But remember that some of us went with the LEAF not just because it is a “pure BEV”, but it is simply more roomy and makes a better family car than the Volt does.


It will be interesting to compare the Leaf to the Bolt, when it arrives. I think the Leaf is slightly bigger, but not sure.

Josh Bryant

The Bolt is a 4 seater, so I am sure the Leaf is bigger.


The seating on the Bolt is not confirmed. Only a concept has been shown, and the interior was very “concepty”. (meaning, expect change)

MTN Ranger

Videos of the camo Bolt from GM show the rear with three seats.


Thanks, I forgot about the spy shots showing a 60/40 split seat.


I think the Bolt is bigger than a Leaf. I’ve stood within 5 ft of one of GM’s test vehicles and it is quite tall and wide. Shape reminded me of the Pontiac Vibe but bigger in all proportions. I think it will be quite roomy with the rear seats down. Though the Gen II Volt will cost less, I’m still considering the Bolt due to the larger interior size.

Mister G

I’m willing to lease a 2016 Leaf, my 2012 Leaf lease ends in December.


Hopefully Nissan could sell around 15.000 16 Leaf in US last three months, we need more Electric cars this year.
Europe sales go up this year, only Insiders knows about 30 KWh. Sometimes its could nobody knows about News..


You think Nissan could sell 4,000-5,000 2016 Leafs/month from September through December? I think you are dreaming. I will be happy if they can keep it over 2k/month. I’m hoping they can get back into that range with the refreshed model, and that it will hold them over until the second generation arrive. Then and only then can we consider 5k/month achievable.

Ocean Railroader

Personally I think if the leaf doesn’t get a range boost of at least 40 to 50 miles it’s sales are not going to rise that much.

Dave R

There’s no way it will increase 40-50 miles this fall. That would require another 12-16 kWh over the 24 kWh currently used or 36-40 kWh total.

Maybe with the next gen 2017 LEAF, though.


“The LEAF is “leading” by having ~800 units less with about 3,700 on dealer lots.”

Do we have a definitive source of how many Volts are still on dealer lots? Something besides websites that sell cars?

Murrysville EV is reporting 4105 Volts on lots as of today.


Yes, but looking for “Something besides websites that sell cars?”

This seems like information GM would know.


Wow, 1174 is a low number for July! Something big happened here. Most of the sales used to be Leaf S, and that now dried up. Why?

The 30kWh battery is only coming to SV and SL models.

Murrysville EV

When my 12 Leaf returns from lease in September, it will be interesting to see what Nissan does to keep my business.

I may just walk away and wait for a Model 3 or Leaf 2.0. 30 kWh in Leaf 1.5 isn’t the next step I really want.

There is no way I’m keeping the car at the current price, even for another year.


Do yourself a favor and consider the Bolt, if you go into waiting mode.


With so much talk of a 200 mile Bolt … the pressure is on for Chevy to deliver!

Wonder how many potential buyers with the Bolt on their wish list will turn an eye, if it only delivers 130-150 miles in the real world? (or if price with expected options is much higher that the promised $35,000)


What justifies your thinking that the Bolt will get far less than GM has claimed? Unlike Nissan who advertised the LEAF as having 100 miles of range, GM has shown a tendency to under-promise and over-deliver – e.g. the EPA giving the ’16 Volt higher official numbers than GM publicized.


I have few doubts that GM will hit 200 miles on the EPA sticker. I do have more doubts that they will hit the $37,500 price. Remember, the Volt was supposed to be a $30k car. It turned out to be a $40k car at release.

Here’s to hoping the Bolt is a wild success. So much so that it creates a sustainable business case for a public CCS quick charging network. Personally, I think this could be one of the greatest contributions of the Bolt to the EV movement.


Stuart22 said:

“Unlike Nissan who advertised the LEAF as having 100 miles of range, GM has shown a tendency to under-promise and over-deliver…”

Apparently this is an untruth which GM cheerleaders have repeated so often that they actually believe it.

Remember the infamous GM claim that the Volt would get “230 MPG”? Some of us do.

Likewise, in 2011 it was said “For the better part of three years, GM has been saying that the Volt will travel a solid 40 miles on battery power alone…” (see source below). Obviously the EPA didn’t agree, since the 2010 Volt was rated at 35 miles of all-electric range.

The Volt is a fine example of superior engineering from GM. But let’s not pretend that they were ever honest about it… and that’s not even getting into the issue of GM falsely claiming the Volt would be a pure serial hybrid EV, which it’s not.



The missing piece of info is the number of “used LEAFs” that were sold during the month of July. Guessing used sales more than make up the difference in YOY new LEAF sales. This is why reporting “registrations” so much better metric than new vehicle sales.

It is surprising the number of non-Nissan lots with (used) LEAFs … and they aren’t sitting on their lots very long (seeing colors of LEAFs change over the course of a week, or two)

Take a look at inventory for a dealer with LEAFs, note VIN (last 5-digits & year). Check again in a week or two to see how has changed. Yep, these “used LEAFs” are being adopted at a good rate. The great news the used transactions are purchases, not leases … so will tend to remain registered in the same state.


“The missing piece of info is the number of used LEAFs that were sold during the month of July.”

I think you are referring to the off lease Leafs that are entering the used car market.

I am very curious what the people are buying when they turn in a Leaf. Sadly, it does not look like they are getting into another Leaf. And they are not extending their lease while they are waiting for Leaf 2.0 either.

Dave K.

Several Leaf owners I know just bought their Leaf at the end of the lease, several others upgraded to an I3, and several “ReLeafed”, leased another one. Don’t know of anyone who has gone back to ICE…

Sam EV

I’ll lease a 2016 Leaf if they improve the small overlap crash results.

“The dummy’s position in relation to the door frame, steering wheel, and instrument panel after the crash test indicates that the driver’s survival space was not maintained well.”

“During the crash, the dummy’s head and torso barely contacted the airbag before sliding off to the left as the steering column moved to the right. The side curtain airbag did not extend far enough forward toward the A-pillar.”


From that quote, it sounds like they could fix the problem with a redesigned airbag. Here’s to hoping it’s that straightforward (and that Nissan takes the necessary steps to fix it!).