Nissan Shatters EV Sales Record In March 2013, Sells 2,236 LEAFs. Propels Industry To All-Time High

APR 2 2013 BY JAY COLE 22

New US Based Production (And Pricing) Of the 2013 Nissan LEAF Has Been A Big Hit With Consumers

New US Based Production (And Pricing) Of the 2013 Nissan LEAF Has Been A Big Hit With Consumers

The decision to bring pricing down, and production to the US, on the 2013 Nissan LEAF has paid some immediately dividends as 2,236 LEAFs were sold in the US in March.

New Nissan Advertising Strategy:  Show The Car.  Show The Price.

New Nissan Advertising Strategy: Show The Car. Show The Price.

After slogging through the first two months of the year without any remaining 2012 inventory left to sell (650 for January and 652 in February), the new US LEAF assembly plant in Smyrna, TN, produced not only the 2,236 Nissan sold during March, but also increased national inventories at the dealership level to over 2,300.  Nissan expects national inventories to be optimized from coast-to-coast by the end of April.

The 2,236 LEAFs also represent the most EVs ever sold by Nissan in a month in the US, passing June of 2011’s 1,708, as well as the high-water mark for monthly sales for any pure electric vehicle for the US.

Thanks to March’s result, year-to-date sales for 2013 are more than double that of 2012, 3,539 to 1,733.

The new 2013 LEAF lowers the cost of entry to the model by $6,400, as the new entry level “S Model” has been introduced starting at $28,800, with a national lease deal set at $199/month.

Also, contributing to LEAF sales was a new “loyalty” program introduced by Nissan that allowed former LEAF owners (and their family members) a further $1,000 of the MSRP if they picked up a 2013 LEAF (or other qualifiying Nissan vehicle).

While the final numbers are not in yet for this month, the resurgent LEAF, along with continued strong numbers from Chevrolet with the Volt, and ramping production from Tesla with the Models S, will likely surpass the number of plug-in vehicles that were sold in December of 2012, making March of 2013 the best selling month for electric vehicles of all time.

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22 Comments on "Nissan Shatters EV Sales Record In March 2013, Sells 2,236 LEAFs. Propels Industry To All-Time High"

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Nice. I hope other EV/plug-in models show a similarly impressive increase!

And to all who said a pure electric just won’t sell in the US.

Jay – you seem to have missed the fact that March represents the end of Nissan’s fiscal year 2012 in this article. According to your scorecard, this means that Nissan sold 11,625 Leafs in the US in FY12. This is a far cry from their stated goal of 20,000, but still worth noting.

I expect now that inventories are up, Nissan should be able to sustain about 1,500-2,000 cars/month. The surge this month is likely due to pent up demand from the previous two while Nissan was getting Smyrna online.

“Despite Nissan only selling 395 LEAFs in July, Nissan is still holding onto their 2012 fiscal year target, which ends March of 2013, of 20,000 LEAFs sold in the US.”

Yes, right you are. Nissan missed their estimate in a fairly big way. Without US production coming online several month sooner than it did, they had zero chance. The company had pretty much abandoned the hope of hitting 20k by the fall.

I think the story is now more of looking ahead than behind.

Nice sales month for the Leaf.

Ford stated their EV push starts this Spring. As of 4/2/2013 things get interesting:

Ford is now offering the loaded Focus Electric with a $11,750 lease incentive, up from $10,000. Which brings the net price to $28,245, and lease price of $262/mo with $907 Down for 36 months. That’s a total consumer cost of $10,339.

Compared with the rather stripped base Leaf S lease at $199/mo and $1,999 down, for a total consumer cost of $9,163. Add the $1,300 6.6 charger to the Leaf S, and cost goes to $10,463. $124 more than the fully loaded Focus Electric.

Compared with the Leaf SL lease at $249/mo with $1,999 down, for a total consumer cost of $10,953. $614 more than the fully loaded Focus Electric.

It will be interesting to see if Ford boosts their daily inventory from 500 units when/if actual marketing of the Focus Electric starts for their spring sales push.

What do you mean stripped?.. it comes with power steering, power windows, power brakes, AC and even a radio!

Oh, when did FFE add the CHAdeMO port ?

Hey now, Ford will be adding the Frankenplug any day now…and then rolling out chargers to their dealers, I’m sure of it!

Hmm, Ford dealers at least in the Seattle area are not that excited about selling FFEs. Less than 2 miles from my favorite Nissan dealer who has no less than 57 2013 Leafs in stock, there is a Ford dealer. That Ford dealer has a single FFE with $4K of ADM on it and not interested at all in selling it to anyone. About 15 miles south there is another Ford dealer, $1500 of ADM on all Energi models and $4000 ADM on there 3 FFEs they had in stock. On top of that they don’t keep their Energi’s charged up for test drives, they can’t, their charging station out front is completely blocked by gas guzzlers. I don’t see how Ford is serious about selling plug-in anything. The Seattle area had huge sales numbers for Leafs this month, 50 of them were sold in the last week of March in this area alone, I just don’t see the Ford dealers as committed as this.

It just goes to validate what we have been saying all along…lower the price and the sales will rise. Good for Nissan and leading by example.

The competition between models, e.g. Focus vs. Leaf, is irrelevant– What we need to see is customers adopting EVs and PHEVs so that they start showing up on the roads enough that the public recognizes their viability. The leases are very inexpensive because the Federal tax credit is factored in to the purchase price but not into the residual. Smart consumers should be snapping them up– at $199 to $249 the cars are almost free, the savings on gasoline can almost equal the payment. The second wave is going to be in the used market when all of the 2011 lease returns start coming in. Low mileage Leafs will be available at $16 to $18K, maybe even less.

“will easily surpass the 6,700 plug-in vehicles that were sold in November of 2012, making March of 2013 the best selling month for electric vehicles of all time.”

My spreadsheet shows biggest months were Oct 2012 at 6784, and Dec 2012 at 6769.

(i don’t know how to post pics here)

It actually should read December not November, thats a snafu on my part while rushing to get the piece out. Raw exact numbers say it was October, but the implied (unexact) sales of Tesla make December the formerly best month to date, although we only referenced the ‘on the books’ sales, ex-Tesla. We should probably not site the specific number as it can’t really be known 100% for sure.

/fixed, thanks

ps) just copy and paste the link in the comment box and it will magically appear as a picture in 5-10 minutes

Also was going to say, if we don’t count the Model S (as we haven’t before); unless the Ford Energis sell really well, it’s not be the biggest sales month. We are only at 4,500 with the Volt/PiP/Leaf. Need to get 2,300 more sales to push past 6,784 total. The best month for the C-max was 1,259. I just don’t see the rest adding up more than another 1,000 cars, but I would happily be surprised.

Hey kdawg,

Tesla was fairly low, and difficult to peg for all but the last month of 2012. It is much easier to track numbers now, and those numbers are much larger, so I don’t think we can exclude them anymore.

Looks like we didn’t beat 2012 #’s even with the Telsa sales.

Here’s what I got so far. I added in your estimates for the Model S. I wish I had the data for 2012 Model S sales, or the 2011 PHEV sales. I can do some digging and find it.

Yes, if you are going to try to nail it down, you are looking at probably 1,600-1,700 Model S sales to round out December of 2012 (+/- a couple hundred)

I wonder how many of us keep this sheet? lol I can’t help it!

The email I received for the $1000 loyalty program does not limit the opportunity strictly to 2013 MY Nissans, but states through December 2014. This copied directly from that email:

“We’re offering original buyers of the 2011 or 2012 Nissan LEAF® a $1,000.00 reward towards the purchase of any new Nissan vehicle from now until December 2014! This is our way of saying thank you for going all-electric and making the Nissan LEAF your car of choice. Between now and December 2014, simply visit your Nissan dealership and receive a $1,000.00 discount on the purchase of any new Nissan vehicle, including the exciting 2013 Nissan LEAF. Best of all, this $1,000.00 loyalty award can be used in combination with any other offers currently available in the Nissan vehicle line-up.”

Wow, drop the price over $6000 and sales pickup?!?!. Gee what a surprise, never saw this happening!!!! 😉

March won’t be the only sales record month for the Leaf. Look for this trend to repeat in April and throughout 2013 (and beyond…)

Now that EVs are selling below $30k with a full trunk/cargo space and a 30 minute charge time, things are going to ramp up fast!