Nissan LEAF Sales Strong In March, But Where Will They Head After Gen 2 Announcement?

7 months ago by Jay Cole 31

The next generation Nissan LEAF was announced to debut this September, but we caught the prototype out testing on UK roads last week!

After going through a slump of some ~20 consecutive months of downward year-over-year sales for its aging 1st generation LEAF in 2016, something strange happened for Nissan last Fall…they started going up.  

At first we thought September 2016’s result that broke Nissan’s not-so-great streak was an anomaly, but after 7 months of gains (including besting the new Chevy Bolt EV in February and March), an anomaly it is not.

Nissan Introduces LEAF “Black Edition” For 2017 In Europe

For March, 1,478 LEAFs were sold, which was a gain of 19% over the 1,246 moved a year ago.

For the year Nissan has now sold 3,287 cars versus 2,923 in the first quarter of 2016 – good for a 12% improvement.

Going forward, there will be huge pressure on the current gen LEAF’s sale performance. After 75 months of production, there is finally 2nd generation news for the oldest plug-in vehicle currently offered for sale in the US.

The question now is: Will Nissan simply sell down  current inventory from this point?  Or will it ramp up production from its Smyrna, TN, facility and then blow them out at discounted pricing to get end-of-life value from the line?

In February, inventory of the LEAF hovered around ~1,250 units nationally, but by the time April rolled around that number moved just north of 1,500.  Look for continued strong deals on the company’s current 107 mile offering.

Specific to the second generation news, Nissan announced in March that LEAF 2.0 will debut this September, and it will be on sale shortly thereafter!

Nissan didn’t give any further detail, but we did spot the 2018 LEAF prototype out testing in London last week, and it is definitely taking design clues from the IDS Concept shown by Nissan a couple years ago.

2018 Nissan LEAF Spotted!

Nissan IDS Concept foreshadows look of the next generation LEAF for 2018

The IDS Concept featured a 60 kWh battery co-development with LG Chem, and also some swanky autonomous features; of which, was also demonstrated last month in a fairly impressive test drive in Europe last month.

Gallery (below) of interest: the IDS Concept debuted over a year ago with a very production-ready 60 kWh battery, which we think is quite likely one of the range option for the 2018 LEAF arriving later this year

Next Generation 60 kWh battery on display in conjunction with the Nissan IDS Concept

And here is the 60 kWh battery as compared to the current 30 kWh battery…note the configuration and sizing is ‘ready-to-go’ in next gen LEAF platform

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31 responses to "Nissan LEAF Sales Strong In March, But Where Will They Head After Gen 2 Announcement?"

  1. Martin T. says:

    Looks like the front will be an improvement, not sure about the rear looks less practical.
    Guess we wait and see.

    Nissan will probably bring out other body styles based on the same platform would be a good guess (EV Van revision) ?

    1. bro1999 says:

      Seems Nissan is doing away with the freakshow look of the current Leaf in favor of conventional styling blending with their corporate look.

      Still surprised that Nissan decided to go cheap and just recycle the current Leaf’s platform instead of starting from scratch like GM did with the Gen 2 Volt and Bolt EV.

      1. Joe says:

        They will in 2020 with the new common platform from Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi

  2. William says:

    “Nissan has “not” (NOW) sold 3,287″. Hey, Jay!

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey William,

      Thanks for spotting that…we work without a “editorial/review net” on sales day to get the info out ASAP. Guess it shows, (=

      Fixed, thanks!

  3. MTN Ranger says:

    Not necessarily IDS design cues, they are simply modern Nissan grill and c pillar like on the Murano and other recent designs.

  4. trackdaze says:

    This is good for nissan no doubt but importantly it may suggest broader acceptance (and sales) of electric vehicles in general has finally reached an inflection point.

  5. Warren says:

    With no active TMS, and presumably the same non-sporty performance, how much cheaper than the Bolt will it have to be to sell?

    1. Sam says:

      Is no active TMS confirmed? Given their history I would not consider a purchase unless they either add TMS or greatly improve their capacity warranty. Leasing I’d still consider.

      Bolt sales look like a bust. We went to look at it this weekend. First one in NC. My teenagers complained of it being too narrow compared to our Mini Cooper! (LOL).

      Still looks compelling to me, but may be too small for us. Waiting for Model 3 reveal to see if we like that vehicle.

    2. Bsweet says:

      I don’t think it has to cheper than the bolt at all as long as it goes the same distance as the bolt it’s not like the bolt is a beautiful car or a high-performance car
      I know that everyone has a different opinion but as for me every Nissan including my Nissan LEAF seems to be better quality than any Chevy I’ve owned

      1. Warren says:

        The Bolt we finally drove makes the Leaf look bad. It is a really nice car, with much sportier handling and acceleration. Even better than the i3 we drove. But I am afraid the Tesla 3 will be the only “affordable” EV that non-EV enthusiasts will be willing to buy in any numbers.

        1. Bsweet says:

          I think for the most part you are right.but I also think most people don’t even know what tesla is and they trust the name Nissan or Chevy plus it’s a lot easier to trade in your old car to Chevy or Nissan to get (what you think is a deal lol)
          I personally would get a model3 first new leaf second then a bolt with the biggest reason being the super charger network

          1. John says:

            Don’t forget, the Hyundai Ionique EV will be out in September too.

  6. David Lane says:

    Lets face it, the current Leaf is a great car–certainly for commutes less than 50 miles! Its very responsive and quick to accelerate 0-30, its comfortable (including heated seats on our S version, a first for us even though always lived in the North), and its convenient (home charging), so smooooth and quiet both city and on the highway (batttery in the bottom improves the feel here)

    I haven’t even brought up the environmental benefits (vs ICE cars) and the SUPER low cost to operate. And regen just greatly appeals to me as one who naturally conserves. What about the value of not polluting while waiting in line to pick up the kids at school? Can I in good conscience continue to own a vehicle with a tailpipe?

    Way to go Nissan! A revolutionary car. Sure the Bolt has now upped the ante, but the current Leaf is available at a much lower price point. Its affordable for those who find a Bolt too much of a pinch to the finances. Here in Michigan, I badly want to replace our last ICE with another LEAF.

    1. Bsweet says:

      I mean this in the nicest of ways
      I own a Nissan leaf because it’s super cheap I don’t have to do any maintenance and my wife can drive all around town
      I own a Tesla because I need something that I can go long distances in and drive fast lol
      I am glad that they don’t pollute but I did not buy either car because of pollution
      Ps.. I am really not trying to be a jerk I just think that there’s a lot of people who buy EV’s who are like me

  7. offib says:

    Has anyone noticed at the mule’s rear? (*laughs*)

    Anyways, there’s seem to be a bar and perhaps it’s holding a spare wheel which a slight outline underneath the rear could be seen.

    1. Bsweet says:

      I live right by Toledo Ohio and I’m about 99% sure that I seen one it looks exactly like the old Nissan LEAF with a different bumper and hood and a different back hatch and bumper
      Which I think changing all of these things is a good thing

  8. David Murray says:

    One issue I’m seeing with the Bolt EV is that it still really costs too much. Sure, it is much more affordable than a Tesla, but doesn’t really have that cool factor that Tesla has. I would be more likely to buy one if they had a smaller battery option that reduced the price by a few grand. I’d be happy with a range of 150 miles… so they could shave off almost 100 miles and probably save a lot of money.

    I suspect the Leaf will take this approach and that will probably help it cater to both markets: Those that want range, and those that want cheap.

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      The Bolt, has a GM sub-compact look with a luxury car price. It’s way too expensive and it’s reflecting in it’s sales. They really should offer a lower range version for 8-10 grand cheaper.

      1. buu says:

        total cells cost is around 9k, how you can expect 10k cheaper?

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          I’m not sure it would sell better if it would have 120 mile range and $10k off, but you are confusing factory cost for cells, that is bundled with the rest of electronics and may be slightly higher really, and retail price.

          Putting cells to pack adds thousands to the factory cost, then you need to have 50-100% markup to pay for R&D, warranty service, sales and all kinds of stuff.

          Anyway, people are just sensitive to price, they are used to $18k-$25k mass market cars with no range restrictions. Range may not matter for some commuters or for city only car, but $35k-$40k? I hope they will reduce the price tag later once sufficient inventory will be everywhere.

      2. Davey Crockett says:

        Not really surprised. Not to do with price at all really.

        Lack of production, only rolled out in a few states, so duh, your going to get low sales.

        Keep in mind they are probably going for compliance, then if the sales were decent, they’ll ramp up production.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Nissan’s focus is on keeping the cost down.

      I expect it to have similar performance to the current model to keep the power-related costs down.

      I think they’ll offer different battery options to keep the headline cost down.

      1. Bsweet says:

        I really think there will be one battery option I also think there will be only one battery option on the model 3 maybe 2 at the most
        Lol only time will tell who’s right

  9. Anon says:

    Mot as polarizing, but still fugly.

  10. a-kindred-soul says:

    I’m a bit sad that the spied car is an old Leaf with just a changed nose and butt. The IDS was such a good and forward looking design; why did they drop it?

    1. Bsweet says:

      It’s all about keeping the price low and coming out with a car faster
      If a car looked like a ids it would be a very expensive car

  11. Murrysville EV says:

    It’s no mystery: When you give away cars for 40% off MSRP, sales volume goes up.

    The market is saying a *new* Leaf is worth about $15-25k, and used off-lease Leafs are half of that.

    Nissan is going to have a *very* hard time pushing ugly duckling Leaf 2.0 for $35-40k. They’ll have to further reduce prices for both old Leaf 1.5 and new 2.0.

  12. Bob Nan says:

    As we go towards Sep-Oct, Nissan will reduce the production of Leaf and just sell off whatever they produced at a big discount.

    And then Gen-2 will start appearing.
    Leaf Gen-1 will finish off with a 300,000 Worldwide sales which is 3 times that of Volt Gen-1.

    Leaf is still the greatest affordable electric car.

  13. Bob Nan says:

    While GM is happy with smaller sales of Bolt, Nissan will strive to make Leaf a big seller and will take the Model-3 seriously.

    So there will be 2 ranges like 40 KWh and 60 KWh models of Leaf and affordably priced to compete with Model-3.

    2018 will be lot more exciting.

  14. Paul Lemieux says:

    The $10,000 rebate in NC probably spurred some of those sales increases.