Nissan LEAF Sales Off Slightly In US As July Marks A Full Year Of Dismal Sales

AUG 2 2016 BY JAY COLE 38

No longer the "gold" standard for EV sales in 2016 for the US, as the LEAF has fallen to 5th

No longer the “gold” standard for EV sales in 2016 for the US, as the LEAF has fallen to 5th

While the 2016 Nissan LEAF and its “new for this year” 30 kWh battery continue to outperform past sales results around the world (such as in Japan & Europe), the same cannot be said for the US.

Nissan LEAF sales in Japan ... nothing like the US

Nissan LEAF sales in Japan – UP, UP, UP … which is nothing like in the US

In July, just 1,063 were sold, bringing the year to date total up to 6,856, off 38% from the 10,990 moved through the first 7 months of 2015.

If one is looking for a “silver lining”, we have now reached a full year’s worth of a sales swoon, meaning July’s woeful result was only off 9.5% from the dismal 1,174 sold in July of 2015.

So not much of a silver lining then.  But if one wants to learn from the results we do have on the table, we can clearly see part of the sales problem is self-inflicted.

With new battery options upcoming and an all-new, next generation LEAF set to debut in the not-so-distant future, it appears Nissan is actively managing existing inventory lower in the US.

During July average stocked inventory fell to a 2016 low around ~2,500 units, and the “new” 30 kWh version (also know as the SV/SL trims) fell to about half of the total.  Basically it is impossible for Nissan to perform much better than it has of late.

The Nissan LEAF sales (through June 2016) and its dwindling market share. Expect more of the same to close out 2016... and things to change in 2017

The Nissan LEAF sales (through June 2016) and its dwindling market share. Expect more of the same to close out 2016… and things to change in 2017

Also of interest for Nissan and the LEAF in July:

Nissan and Eaton equip new eco-designed Webaxys data centre with first deployment of a "full pack" energy storage solution

Nissan and Eaton equip new eco-designed Webaxys data centre with first deployment of a “full pack” energy storage solution

*- as mentioned, Nissan LEAF sales are strong in Japan.  After 1,323 registrations in June, 2016 sales have already eclipsed all of 2015’s total

*- 2016 30 kWh LEAF is reviewed in the UK (watch), where the bulk of new sales/growth has also been via the new battery/trim level

*- perhaps tired of waiting for Nissan to announce a battery upgrade of its own, engineers at Nissan’s Technical Centre in Barcelona (NTCE-S)y facility build their own 48 kWh LEAF

*- 2016 editions of the LEAF also got a recall note this month (well, ~4,300 of them anyway), as an airbag supplier error (found in the wiring harness) can unintentionally deactivate the safety device

*- Nissan and Eaton show off the first recycled “full pack” energy storage solution


Categories: Nissan, Sales


Leave a Reply

38 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Sales Off Slightly In US As July Marks A Full Year Of Dismal Sales"

newest oldest most voted

They need to get the 200 mile Leaf 2.0 out as soon as possible. I hope they surprise us and ship shortly around Bolt but I feel there shluld have been more news by now. Maybe Tokyo Auto Show and then release within a year of that so as not to further hurt dismal LEAF sales in US?

I agree but they are about to release a 40 kWh gen 1 so don’t expect the gen 2 anytime soon.

They bring the 30 & 40 kWh options this year: that will be the best choices in Japan or Europe (because the Bolt will be expensive in Europe because of import tax). End of 2016 they will also show the 2018 Nissan Leaf: because showing the product will not hurt the sales in Europe/Japan (you could buy a 40 kWh Leaf or wait for mid 2017 to get the Leaf 2). For US market the Bolt could be a better but more expensive option. But with showing the second generation there could be some people waiting for Leaf 2.
Thats what I read from the article from insideevs.
Also putting the new generation cells 30 kWh and 40 kWh in the first Leaf allows Nissan simple one replacement battery for all old Leafs.

I don’t know what to think. A salesman at Opel Norway told my father the Ampera-e would start at about 270,000 NOK, which is basically $30,000. I suppose he was just making guesses, as I’m pretty sure nobody in Opel anywhere actually knows today, and I’d be surprised if it turns out to be the case. Even so, if it becomes expensive here it’s not due to import taxes – all BEVs in Norway are exempt of all taxes. That includes the normally close to 100% import tax and the 25% VAT (and comes on top of the many incentives that make BEVs cheap to operate, such as expensive fossil fuels @ $7/gallon, free parking, free use of ubiquitous toll roads, 75% reduced road tax and free ferries).

Norways policy will probably change soon, but the current benefits run until 2018 and are widely expected to be phased out over many years rather than abruptly removed entirely. So again, maybe it’ll be expensive here too, but not because of taxes!

Without massive incentives, 1k/month is about as good as it’s gonna get until Leaf 2.0 comes out.

With sales booming in Japan and the UK, I can forgive Nissan for postponing the next Leaf and stretching out this one. Let them get as much life out of this design as possible.

That said, I expect big things from the next Leaf. At one point, Ghosn said that Nissan would beat the Bolt to market. While I don’t believe that will happen, they cannot be far behind. A year from now, we should be discussing some very exciting news and the Bolt and Leaf battle it out while those ~400,000 Model III reservation holders sit and watch from the sidelines.

I think Model 3 reservations holders will become Bolt or LEAF 2.0 owners, if Tesla has any setbacks. That should be the plan for Chevy and Nissan anyway, market heavily to consumers who have expressed interest in a “200 mile” BEV.

They could take 1/4 of those reservations and fill more than a the first year production on both vehicles.

Are these the 30kWh Leaf?

Never mind, just saw the chart. Do we know what the split is?

IIRC, June ’15 was the last month of the Georgia tax credit. I would think that was the break in sales.

Bolt and Model 3 announcements just added insult to injury, since the 30 kWh wasn’t going to get many to bite early.

I don’t believe Nissan will give up their leadership in EV world without a fight. There are two hurdles they have to overcome to stay in the fight, the new 200 mile range standard and improved battery degradation performance. I believe there will be an announcement very soon of a gen 2 Leaf that will meet, or exceed these shortcomings.

Yet they seem to be doing just that. They are talking about bringing out the 40 kWh Leaf but that will get them to just 135 miles or so. And the Bolt will be rolling onto dealer lots in December with 200+ miles of AER.
Nissan is dieing a slow, painful death here, with the majority of their fans quietly decamping to Tesla, albeit via reservations, not purchases. By February a substantial amount of people that would not have dreamed of buying a Chevy two years ago will be test driving the Bolt.

I live in the SF Bay Area. When EV’s started showing up, I used to see about 3 Leafs for every Volt during my 75 mile daily round trip commute. These days, I only see about 1 (or <1) Leaf for every Volt. What happened to all the Leafs? I realize most people had leases and probably turned them in at the end of their lease, but wouldn't they have been resold? I really wonder where they all went. Any theories?

The way you worded this is ambiguous. Are you seeing fewer Leafs, or just more Volts?

I think it is a bit of both in my opinion.

Volt went up and LEAF went down.

There are 7 free chargers at the Mosaic district near me. Seeing the change in the ratio of electric cars on the chargers has been kind of interesting. It started out with basically the Volt, the Leaf and the PiP at maybe 4:4:1. Then the Tesla S showed up in 2012, the Energi’s and the 500E in 2013, the i3 in 2014 and recently the X started appearing. But really in Northern Virginia, it is probably Volt/Leaf/Tesla S/Energi/i3 primarily, with a ratio respectively of around 8:6:5:5:3.
There are more Volts than Leafs, but not by much and the S is closing on both, fast.
The other electric cars are background noise.

I’m seeing the same thing in my area. We had a LEAF, turned it in because the buy out price was insane. Don’t see many driving around any more. Resale values plummeted. Only people I hear getting one now are used ones.

I am seeing less leafs too, and I think it is because people that buy them used are using them differently than people that buy them new. I think the used ones are used as second cars, not as a primary commuter. I can’t think of what else would cause a car that used to have parity if not more with the Volt in my area to have dropped so much.

Here’s one theory for you guys. At least one state (Colorado?) offers incentives on purchasing a used EV, so long as it has not been previously registered in that state. So all of those CA lease returns (which neither qualify for CARB requirements for Nissan nor purchase incentives for the buyer) may be getting “exported” out of state and resold there.

Don’t a lot of used Leaf get exported out of the US for sale?

Here is a theory (potentially flaming the LEAF fan base):

Volt outlast the LEAF. LEAF with bad batteries are either getting battery replaced quietly and shipped out of country to other part of the world or getting junked.

Volt are getting resold to 2nd or 3rd owners who continue to drive them.

I see a lot of Gen 1 Volt with new license tags in the SF Bay area, so that means a recent change of ownership which is likely to be a used car sale.

I just received a fax with the payoff info to buy out my leased US Bank Chevy Volt. And US Bank gave me a pretty good deal. But who in the world still uses a fax machine? I had to look at my business card to remember what my fax number was.
I am kind of tickled about keeping my Volt, it has been 10 kinds of reliable.

That probably plays out somewhat, but not as much as the OP seems to have implied.

It is sad to see the relatively new Leafs being abandoned as their batteries wither and fade. I really hope Nissan has been paying attention to what GM is doing. The Leaf 2’s battery better be much more durable, or else Nissan’s endevour to lead in EVs will have completely failed. If the Leaf 2 is solid, they still have some hope.

I bought a used Leaf a few months ago in WA state. The sales guy said they buy them in bulk “at auctions.” Not sure of details but the manuals binder in the glove box had a business card from a dealer in NC.

There may be no silver lining for Nissan in this, but for the rest of us it’s this: An intentional reduction of inventory is a sure sign Nissan will soon present something new, and they have reason to think what they are going to present would hurt sales of the current models. Presumably quite badly, as otherwise it would be cheaper to sell the remaining inventory with a decent rebate than to forego a big slice of sales for many months.

I have noticed the predictions of a 40 kWh battery pack but haven’t so far seen anything even moderately convincing to back it up. So I’m still hoping it is the next generation LEAF – a brand new and much improved design with 60 kWh of goodness. 🙂 Of course hope isn’t ever a good indicator, but then again I have no reason to believe in the 40 kWh over the more optimistic alternative.

I expect to see the leaf 2.0 at the end of next month (30th Sept) at the Paris Auto show.

Watch this space !

No. They will put in a new 30 kWh and 40 kWh batteries in Leaf 1 after Paris Autosalon. 30 kWh I think 10.000 $ cheaper than Bolt, 40 kWh ~4000 cheaper and in Europe even more differences. (in Japan no Bolt) So only in US they must get over the price.
To loose not much customers to Chevrolt in November they will show production ready Leaf 2 in Los Angeles Autoshow with much more range than Bolt, which will comes to dealer ~5 months later, so not really much.
You could read this in article Nissan North America chief says: “we will have something comparable (cheaper 40 kWh Leaf 2017) and later surpass the Bolt (2018 Leaf with 30 kWh – 60 kWh in mid 2017).
Best for 24 kWh Leaf drivers, next year there will be no more 24 kWh replacement battery :-).

I said “See” the leaf 2.0 !

Just wait until Bolt is out and Model 3 is here…

Unless LEAF 2.0 is so awesome, it won’t sell much.

Also, look at it this way, unless you need a car now, why wouldn’t you wait even if you are loyal to Nissan?

Model 3 and Bolt pretty much capped the price ceiling of the LEAF. But a similar 30kWh SV/SL are near the Model 3/Bolt price mark. So, why buy one now knowing that future LEAF will be cheaper on per mile range basis?

Of course, only cheap lease can push the inventory right now.

“employees at the company’s Smyrna, TN assembly facility build their own 48 kWh LEAF”.

The employees were from Spain that built the 48 kWh LEAF off hours to participate in local ECOseries competition. InsideEVs first covered the story in 2013.

Perhaps the employees in Smyrna, TN may find it fun to assemble a 60 kWh LEAF as they have access to upgraded 2016 SV/SL cells! 😉

BTW: it appears the ECOseries LEAF team has assembled more that one 48 kWh LEAF as an Internet search turns up both a red & blue editions.

Regarding the steep drop in U.S. LEAF sales beginning July 2015 … this is solely a reflection of Georgia suddedenly cutting off incentives to new PEV purchases.

A major decrease in PEV sales is what happens when one of the best incentives is remove and replace by $200+ annual user fees. The Georgia market has frozen over. It will likely take Georgia EV market 3-5 years to recover from this political induced shock.

This is a good lesson that there needs to be a multi-year transition period when each removing incentives and introducing “user fees”. Nothing wrong with “user fees”, just that they need to be fair and the shift be so sudden.

On positive note for Georgia; Georgia Power is one of the most progressive PEV supportive utilities by installing a growing network of DCFC stations.

A good article explaining how new EV registerations are off by as much as 90% in Georgia in 2015.

I expect to see the leaf 2.0 in the 2018 module year. However I expect the Leaf will still well in EU and Asia because the Bolt release in pretty much only in the US. Yes the Bolt will hit parts of EU this summer but it will be next year at the earliest before any real volume will hit the EU and places like the UK aren’t going to see it until they release a Right handed version that they aren’t likely to do until the 2018 session.

My Gen 1 2013 Leaf was an excellent car in all respects. That said, all of these Gen 1 cars were built on very uninspiring chassis. I expect the Gen 2 to not only have better range but to have some better hardware under the car as well. There is a dramatic difference in driving experience between a car with Macphearson strut/torsion beam suspension versus one with fully independent double wishbones and stabilizer bars like my wife’s Acura TSX.

I look forward to having the combination of electric drive AND a willing chassis in Gen 2 cars.