November 2013 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

DEC 3 2013 BY JAY COLE 48

Despite a relatively muted first half of the year, electric vehicle sales have been surging since August – a record month when over 11,000 plug-ins were sold.  Previous to November, the 2nd best result was posted as 9,695 vehicles were sold.

In fact, 36,600+ EVs have been sold so far in the first 4 months of this half, which is only about 4,000 shy of the January to June period (40,847). Given that the tax implications of the $7,500 federal tax credit putting pressure on would-be buyers of electric vehicles, both November and December should continue this strong trend to close out the year.

Unfortunately, inventory problems for last month’s biggest three selling models (Toyota Prus PHV, Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan LEAF) have limited sales numbers in November despite that demand.  November ended with about 8,700 plug-ins sold.

For the month, the burning questions are:

  • Is it possible for Ford to out due its previous month results for the 10th time in 11 months? (answer: almost, but not quite)
  • Toyota crested the 2,000-mark for sales for the first time ever in October on the Prius PHV – can it be done again without any dealer inventory left? (answer: nope)
  • Will Chevrolet build enough Volts to satisfy “Christmas” customers as Cadillac ELR production gets underway (answer: doesn’t look like it)

Below you can find the results for your own favorite plug-in vehicle, plus a look behind the numbers as well. Additionally, waaaaaay down at the bottom of the story is the year-to-date graph of all the EV auto sales by month.

(last update: 12:30 pm December 5th , 2013)


2014 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt: Despite five weekends contained in this sales month, just 1,920 Volts were sold in November. (full story here)

Previously in October, 2,022 Volts were sold after a bit a shaky September in which only 1,766 were moved off dealer lots.

Thankfully for GM on the year-over-year numbers they are up against a fairly weak November of 2012 when only 1,519 cars were sold.  Overall GM has sold 20,702 Volts, as compared to 20,828 in 2012 – down fractionally at .6%

Over the summer – in August, the Volt shattered not only their own personal best monthly result, but the entire industry’s selling month with 3,351 cars sold. Moving the sales needle overall was a August 6th announcement that the new 2014 Volt would receive a $5,000 drop in the MSRP over the outgoing 2013 model (which lowered the starting price to $34,995).

Looking ahead it is going to be difficult to match the December 2012 result of 2,633 Volts sold, as basically what we predicted out of Chevy as far as production of the 2014 Chevrolet Volt to end out the year has come true.

Nutshell: GM is not making enough Volts to have a reasonable inventory across the US.  Like what happened in 2012, we predict GM’s marketing department will once again have to come forward to explain low sales as a result of poor inventory control.  Overall inventory of the Volt nationwide has been allowed to fall to yearly lows despite being the busiest season.

Little more than 2,000 2014 Volts are currently on dealer lots – and GM faces not only Cadillac ELR production displacing Volt production in December at the Hamtramck, Michigan facility, but also an extended holiday shutdown.

Chevrolet needs to sell 2,759 Volts next month to avoid being the first plug-in vehicle to report lower year-over-year sales since the “next generation” of plug-ins hit the market in 2010.  In 2012, 23,461 cars were sold.   (Toyota is also in a similar situation with little Prius PHV inventory available to sell)




2013 Nissan LEAF – 2014s Arrive In December

Nissan LEAF: In November 2,003 LEAFs were sold – which is only 1 more car than then in October. (full story here)

Nissan continues to be the most consistent selling electric vehicle in the US, as November is the 9th month in a row around the 2,000 units sold mark.

Overall, 20,081 LEAFs have been sold in 2013, which is an improvement of 140% from 2012 when 8,330 all-electric Nissans were bought.

InsideEVs has learned that Nissan decided to up US made production of the LEAF up to around 2,700 units per month last spring – but those changes would not fully take effect until this fall, and increasing inventory was actually seen at the dealership level in November – but in a muted way.

Nissan now says full production may not actually arrive until the December/January …  so given recent slippage, we look forward to full inventories sometime in March.

Nissan ended the month with right around 3,000 LEAFs available at dealerships – almost 50% of that inventory was of the more inexpensive S trim level that starts at $28,000, with a little over 20% being the high end SL variety.

2014 LEAFs are in production now and should hit US dealerships in December – no word on pricing as of yet, but is expected shortly




2013 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales…so we never know for 100% what the numbers are until their quarterly updates. Tesla’s Q3 financials confirmed the first 9 months sales at a level of about 15,500 units, with just over 14,000 sold domestically.

As this is a list of US sales, we are now forced to shift away from tracking strictly production and deliveries for the company overall as they are delivering throughout Europe…so no one freak out when US sales don’t match total production from here on out.

While putting a number on ongoing demand in the US is not easy, but we feel relatively confident it currently lies in the 700-1,100 unit range per month.

However, that is NOT the estimated sales range for November and December as Tesla buyers are NOTHING like buyers of other EVs.

Simply put, about 80% of all electric vehicles (not named Tesla) are leased, and as such potential owner don’t give two figs (technical term) about when the calendar tax year ends and when they can realize the $7,500 federal credit.  As Tesla currently offers no leasing in the traditional sense, the great bulk of Tesla buyers do care…and those dollar sensitive buyers are being pushed off the fence in November and December.

We estimate 1,200 Model S sedans were sold in November as Tesla tries to balance US demand with European deliveries.

(*) Model S sales estimates are given representative of North American sales, which include Canada.



2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid:  Holy cow!  It’s a new plug-in offering!

That being said, only 4 Panamera S E-Hybrids were sold in November – but we expect this number to rise soon.

This time…and for the first time ever, the Tesla Model S actually has an electric vehicle to compete with (sorta) in the luxury plug-in segment; although the Porsche only has 20 miles* of electric power until the gas engine takes over.

What we can tell you is that about a dozen S E-Hybrids are on dealer lots at the moment.

Going forward, it is estimated that the plug-in may account for 10%-15% of all Panamera sales – which generally amount to about 500 per month so far in 2013.  The Panamera S E-Hybrid has a combined 416 hp output (333 hp electric) and can get north of 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a top speed of 167 mph.  Pricing starts at $99,000.

(*- NEDC rating.  EPA rating will be released in December, expected to be about 15 miles)



2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet SPARK EV: Sales improved in November as 87 units were moved off California and Oregon lots – a 32% increase over October

Previously in October, the little Chevy electric posted a result of 66 Spark EVs sold during October, which was down some from September when 78 were sold.

However, no one should read into any monthly number too much as GM once again provided little to no new inventory on the EV this month – less than 200 units were available to end out November.

Consistency is really the name of the compliance game with GM and the Spark EV – 102 cars were sold in August after selling 103 units in the car’s first month on the market in July.

The success or failure of the Spark EV can not really be judged in the US by sales…at least not yet as GM is setting the pace of sales by not only limiting the states it is offered (California and Oregon), but also the inventory levels.

It has been reported (when the EV went on sale last month in South Korea) that only about 1,000 have been made to date for the US market, of which nearly half have been sold.

In fact, during October InsideEVs learned exclusively from Chevy directly that the company has “no plans” to make the car available outside of California and Oregon…so at least for now, we can call this car a compliance play – meaning GM will ship and sell the number it deems necessary until further notice.

About the Spark EV: GM’s compact EV has a 82 mile range (EPA rated) and has just been priced by GM at a competitive $27,495, about $1,400 less than the new entry level, S Model LEAF offered by Nissan. A $199/month lease is also available from launch. Reviews (like this one) of the little electric Chevy has widely been positive since the car has been available for testing…we guess it has something to do with the 400 lb-ft of torque on tap – nothing like having some acceleration in a affordable EV past 50 mph.

We figure that any 3-digit number probably satisfies GM’s internal projections for the car.



Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma: We are DELIGHTED to say this will be the LAST month the Fisker Karma is on the monthly sales list!

In October, Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li lead a group acquiring the DoE’s 168 million debt owned by Fisker for $25 million dollars, essentially giving him and “Hybrid Technology LLC” control over Fisker.

In November he promptly put Fisker into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which meant those dealers hoping for the company to be saved – and for them to be able to return old/new 2012 Fisker Karmas to the company (as promised to them when they signed up to be Fisker dealers) was dashed.

So after a year of only being able to report an estimated 3 or 4 over-priced Fiskers being sold each month – dealers slashed 6-digit price tags (some down into the 60s), and more than a dozen were sold in the last week of the month – more than a quarter of the listed remaining inventory from October.

As for the future of the Fisker Karma, Hybrid Technology LLC spokesperson Caroline Langdale isn’t saying:

“As we continue to examine Fisker’s opportunities, we will be making decisions  about the structure and footprint of the new business.” 

But we have done our due diligence on the mountain of SEC filed paperwork and feel pretty confident in saying the Fisker Karma (such as it is now) will not be returning.





2014 Fiat 500e

2014 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e: When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we may have another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don’t report sales).

Chrysler/Fiat, which has been notoriously anti-EV is also giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales.

Even still we got a fairly accurate early read on the initial “early adopter” demand in during company’s first couple months of sales thanks to a fairly serious half shaft breakage issue and a “voluntary safety recall.”

And while the initial production run in Mexico was apparently set at 491 units, more units have been made since then, and inventories are running deeper at Fiat lots.

Update from the future:  Thanks to a recall notice in May of 2014, we find that 2013 sales of the Fiat 500e were higher than originally thought. For December we estimate 400 were sold.

As for the car itself, the 500e’s 24 kWh lithium battery has been rated by the EPA to produce 87 miles of all electric range, and MPGe efficiency in the city is pegged at 122, and 108 on the highway, for a combined 116 MPGe figure.




2013 Honda Fit EV

Honda Fit EV: For November 23 Fit EVs were sold.

Previously in October, Honda managed to move 40 Fit EVs, which roughly matches the pace set in previous months.

September and August continued a familiar story at Honda as they managed to sell 35 and 66 EVs (respectively) from almost zero national inventory…literally.

So, the story continues to be: Inventory, where is the inventory?

As in…there is none – ok, actually there is 15 in stock nationwide, but for all intents and purposes, the number might as well be zero.

So why is the Fit EV America’s most in demand car? Well, Honda has found the holy grail when it comes to selling a limited number of compliance vehicles. Lease them out cheap ($259/month including partial insurance with nothing down)…and give customer unlimited mileage on those leases. (all the details here)

With a hot seller on their hands and Tesla ZEV credits in their back-pocket … and now more than half of the planned production now sold for the US on the Fit EV (1,100), we had doubted new inventory in depth would ever come from Honda – now we can confirm it, as Honda has made a statement on the situation.

“The Fit EV is available on a limited basis, with continued production of about 40 vehicles per month. Vehicles are allocated regionally and distributed based on demand from dealership-maintained wait lists.”

So if you get one…count yourself lucky.




As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

2014 smart ED – As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

SMART ForTwo Electric Drive: 2nd month ever for the little smart as 153 were sold in November as more ‘coupe’ inventory rolled in.

Previously in October the good times continued to roll for the small off-shoot of Daimler, as 111 smart Eds were sold, bring the year-to-date total up to 603.

In September 137 copies of the smart ED was also sold.  In fact the last three month have well beat smart’s early expectations of selling about 60 per month until the vehicle was available nationally.

The USA-wide rollout has been hampered by some unforeseen worldwide demand that has lead to a 9 month backlog from parent Daimler in October. The company has said that battery cell availability issues are now under control know and they can indeed satisfy ongoing demand.

Indeed inventory has risen to more than 300 EDs in the 9 states it is currently available (CA, CT, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NY, OR, RI), although it should be noted that if you want the ED in a Cabrio (convertible), you are currently out of luck, as apparently production out of France has been focused on just churning out whatever they can make the fastest – namely coupes.  Less than 10 convertible smart Electric Drives are current in stock.

Although, sales of the smart ED have fluctuated fairly wildly in the last few months, the introduction of little EV nationally in “early” 2014 is sure to smooth out the curve in the low 3 digits.

The smart ED is the first plug-in for America to be offered with a “battery rental” option, which brings the cost of the Smart ED down to $19,990, but adds a $80 month battery rental payment, as well as includes a wider (and longer) battery warranty. Check out all the specs, options and pricing here.

The 2-seat Smart electric car gets 68 miles of range from a 17.6 kWh battery.



2013 Ford Fusion Energi

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi: For November 870 were confirmed sold by Ford, which although not their ‘best month’ ever, was still an impressive result.

Last month was the zenith of sales results as 1,087 were sold.

Passing the 4-digit mark in October was uncharted territory for the Fusion Energi as the car’s previous high was set just last month in September when 750 were sold.

As far as plug-ins go, this is a extremely high margin car for Ford, and they probably could not be happier with the results to date.

Also of interest, there are currently more 2014 Fusion Energis on dealer lots than 2014 Chevrolet Volts – this marks the first time in the history of the “current generation” of plug-in vehicles that the Chevrolet Volt doesn’t have the deepest inventory.

The Fusion Energi basically offers the same package as the C-Max Energi, but in a larger sedan package. The third plug-in to be offered from Ford has just been rated by the EPA at a combined 100 MPGe (92 MPGe highway, 108 MPGs city), and has an all-electric range of 21




2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Toyota Prius Plug-In: Now almost completely exhausted of new inventory, Toyota still managed to sell 1,100 copies of the plug-in Prius. (full story here)

Previously in October the Prius PHV turned the plug-in world on its head as America’s best selling hybrid car also became the best selling plug-in for the month.

In total 2,095 units. Yes, that’s 2,095…no typo there were sold October. (full story here)  Amazing what a $2,010 to $4,620 price cut in MSRP can do for sales!

As mentioned above, it should be noted that impressive sales results late in 2013 have now depleted inventory of the Toyota PHV, and only about 600-odd remain available for sale into December.

October’s number is Toyota’s best ever, their previous high was set in October 2012 when 1,889 were sold.

In mid-summer we thought that going forward, it was going to be very improbable to keep up with last year’s sales pace.  However, after a several solid months under Toyota’s belt, anything is now possible as Toyota has issued 10,069 plug-in Prii through October, which is up marginally over 2012.

Last year Toyota sold 12,750 plug-in Prii in the 10 months it was available. That means Toyota will need to average a little more than 1,300 sales in each of the last two months to avoid the distinction of being the first EV sold in the US to lose sales year over year. Not a great distinction to have.



2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi: Sales were off ever-so-slightly with the C-Max plug-in for November as 941 were sold.

Everything at Ford seemed to sell well previously in October (outside the Focus Electric), and the C-Max Energi turned in its own “best month of the year” result with 1,092 plug-ins sold.

The C-Max Energi first broke out of its sales rut in August as it set a new year high…a record that only lasted one month as Ford sold 758 in September.

The all-time record was set in the Energi’s first month on the market, as there was a sizeable demand backed up after the standard hybrid was released – that November (2012) 1,259 were sold.

But realistically speaking, to go much higher that current levels something needs to be about the MSRP. At $32,950 as we feel it is just too close to the Chevrolet Volt, especially after GM lower the price of its 38 mile, extended range car by $5,000 in August…the only problem for Ford (and EV fanatics) is that the C-Max hybrid is selling so well that Ford is likely hesitant to close the gap between it and the plug-in Energi version.

Still, with 2014 pricing not yet announced thanks to an odd production schedule…we expect to see a change in the starting asking price soon.





2013 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric: Always as consistent performer, the Focus Electric sold 130 units in November.

Previously in October 115 Focus Electrics were sold, which continues a downward trend of late for the 76 miles EV.

The Focus EV is really the ‘oak tree’ of plug-in sales reporting, sure and steady; always ‘one hundred and something’ sales results…you could almost set your watch to it. Previously in September, 110 all-electric Fords were sold.

Taking October into account, 12 out of the last 13 months have seen triple digit sales starting with a “1”….although Ford does now seem determined to correct the trend of 100ish sold per month, as Ford slashed 2014 model year pricing by $4,000down to $35,200.

On November 21st, the NHTSA issued an official recall of 2,456 Focus Electrics due to a dangerous “Stop Safely Now” issue, that could see the all-electric Ford lose power – even when in motion (that story here).  As this has been a long recall in the making, hopefully putting this problem in the rear view mirror will help sales going forward.

Is a 200+ month in the cards? Oh the excitement of anticipation!




2014 Toyota RAV4 EV (+1 to kdawg for the file)

2014 Toyota RAV4 EV (+1 to kdawg for the file)

Toyota RAV4 EV: The RAV4 EV cooled off a little in November as Toyota logged 62 more copies sold.

Previously in October 91 plug-in SUVs were sold, which was down from the recent upswing over the past 3 months for the compliance-built Toyota plug-in.

Overall however, Toyota has experience a resurgence the last 4 months in selling their CARB compliance SUV. 167 were sold previously in September – the second best result for the electric SUV since it went on sale.

Like its sister Prius, the RAV4 EV set a new high for 2013 in August, when 231 were sold.

To bump sales Toyota has taken a page out of Honda’s playbook on their compliance vehicle and is now offering the RAV4 EV lease with something the mainstream players can’t – unlimited mileage leases.

In the short term, it seems to seriously be working – however, Toyota has had some serious ups and downs selling the electric SUV, so we are going to say that Toyota still its work cut out for them trying to sell 2,600 of these over the next year and a half – but a few more months like August and September we force us to change our minds.

Predictions for sales in Decemeber? No way, who knows what deal is (or isn’t) coming from Toyota in the next 30 days.






2012 Mitsubishi i

Mitsubishi i-MiEV:  Mitsubishi says year-to date sales are up 99.2% year to date over 2012, which thanks to uber-l33t math skills mean 12 i-MiEVs were sold in November

Continuing the steady, but low trend that is the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Previously sales for October came in at 28 units, after selling 20 in September and 30 in August.

What is the problem? No inventory, as 2013 models never arrived at dealerships this year; only old 2012 models remain.

What does it all mean?  Absolutely nothing as Mitsubishi has just announced the return of the 2014 i-MiEV in the late spring from $22,995!

$22,995 also INCLUDES standard fast charging and a host of other standard features that used to be options.  The MSRP price reduction equals $6,130 less than the outgoing 2012 model.

Want to know more about the new cheapest EV in America?  Click here!





2014 (yes, 2014) Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

2014 (yes, 2014) Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

Honda Accord Plug-In:  In November 68 copies were sold, close to the all-time high that was set in October at 71 Accord plug-ins.

Still, to say Accord PHEV sales are flat would be an understatement. For September, Honda sold 51 electric Accords.

Practically speaking, the Accord plug-in is the anti-Fit EV, they just can’t sell these things – previously in August 44 were moved off Honda lots.

Each month we ask ourselves the same questions: Does Honda even want to sell these? Why do they bring them to the US at all? A $40,000 mid-size Honda sedan with 13 miles of electric range is just not something Americans want…and they know it, with little to no inventory available.

Simply put, this should have been an offering from Acura. Still, we have to report the results.  So, with the Honda Fit EV now selling well (when they choose to stock them), the Accord plug-in looks to take over the crown of “most anemic” selling plug-in car in the US.  Still the car did pick up the Green Car Journals car of the year award – so that’s something.

Officially classed as the new year’s first ‘2014’ model, the Accord PHEV doesn’t come cheap, as Honda has recently priced the sedan at a very Fusion Energi-like $38,780, markedly higher than consumer expectations for the car. We expect Honda to revisits incentive on the car in the near future.

The Accord plug-in has a 13 mile all-electric range, and has been given a MPGe valuation of 115 MPGe, the highest rating of any plug-in extended range vehicle.



First Pre-Producion ELR Gets Built Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

First Pre-Production ELR Gets Built Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Cadillac ELR: January of 2014 is expected to see the debut of the 35 mile extended range Cadillac ELR, but at a price most “looking to upgrade” Volt owners will cringe at, starting from $75,995. /ouch

BMW i3 Arrives In Q2 of 2014 From $41,350

BMW i3 Arrives In Q2 of 2014 From $41,350

After the ELR, a foot race of sorts will occur between the all-new, purpose built BMW i3 (all the details on that can be found here) and the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – a 25(ish) mile extended range SUV that was originally expected in January, then the Spring, then Summer…has apparently now been pushed off until 2015 to allow for Japanese and Eurozone deliveries happening now.

We Caught A Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive Out For A Test Spin Over The Summer In The US

We Caught A Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive Out For A Test Spin Over The Summer In The US

As for the Mercedes Benz B-Class Electric Drive, which apparently boasts a “US city” range of 115 miles. Thomas Weber, MD R&D boss says:

“In all the key criteria, this vehicle will be at least as competitive as our competitors’ models.” – and by our competitors’ models – he means the BMW i3. No pricing has been announced as yet, rollout to happen regionally in the summer of 2014.



BELOW: Chart of the year-to-date monthly sales by vehicle

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla Numbers have been included in this graph. Tesla Total US Sales Based On Quarterly Disclosures (Q1 & Q2 from filings, Q3 based on shareholder letter, and Q4 based on company estimate of half of sales out of North America) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data.

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla Numbers have been included in this graph. Tesla Total US Sales Based On Quarterly Disclosures (Q1 & Q2 from filings, Q3 based on shareholder letter, and Q4 based on company estimate of half of sales out of North America) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data.

Categories: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Fisker / Karma, Ford, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Sales, Smart, Tesla, Toyota

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48 Comments on "November 2013 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

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I’m sorry, GM fans, but the evidence is stacking up pretty high against the idea that GM is a pro-EV company. There may be people inside the mammoth corporation that are “keeping the faith” and defending products like the Volt from extinction, but let’s be honest, the Spark is a compliance car, they are sabotaging Volt sales during the peak sales months, and they priced the ELR to fail. GM is making the German companies look pretty good, despite them arriving late to the party.

What do you offer as evidence for GM “sabotaging” Volt sales? Is selling a product at or below variable cost suddenly an attempt at reducing sales?

Per Jay in the article above:
” Like what happened in 2012, we predict GM’s marketing department will once again have to come forward to explain low sales as a result of poor inventory control. Overall inventory of the Volt nationwide has been allowed to fall to yearly lows despite being the busiest season.”

sevie or Jay,

When I read that “despite being the busiest season” it did not sound right. At least in the regions I have lived in, November is a slow sales month for new cars. I would figure late spring/ early summer, and then again late August/Early September would have the highest sales.

Do either of you have nationwide stats as far as average car sales per month for the auto industry?


It is only the busiest for the EV subset of the auto industry due to the way the federal credit works..and the fact that the segment increases (on average) by 7-8% percent on its own.

I was thinking that might be the case. If I ran a dealer though, I’d be a scared to order inventory based off these scorecards. If I were running a factory, I’d have the same concerns. There is a limited amount of years to go off of, but even if you do, you can’t ignore the fact that late fall and winter are tougher time to sell cars in general. Yes, you could look at December totals and expect a blip at the end of the year. This is the case with the industry in general, and a little bit more so for vehicles with tax incentives (like heavy trucks for business). However, you are surrounded by slow selling months for the auto industry in general as well as for EVs. If you try to stock up too much, it could really cost you. Keeping inventory looking new that has been sitting on the lots over the winter months can be tougher than on the summer months. If it sits too long, you will pay flooring costs and that can be a costly mistake. It is a risky gamble to stock up during the winter. Love the scorecards, and these… Read more »

Also, since we have a general increase over time in the number of models available and total sales, December will always look like a decent month for the cumulative total for all plug in sold. Likewise, January will always be one of the worst. Average those 2 months together, or Nov-Feb, and you end up with a season that is worse than other parts of the year.

2 thumbs up and 100% agreement S.
GM’s business model is all about ICE vehicles which includes regular parts and service along with planned (engineered) obsolesence.

That’s probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen posted here on insideevs. How would having the #1 selling plug-in electric vehicle in North America (not just YTD but EVER!) be ANY indication of what you are saying? What complete BS.

Because the market is growing at 90% and Volt may see declining sales this year. Marketing heads will roll in such a case in most companies not named GM.

I think both sides have a point.

The real test IMHO will be 2014, as the playing field fills up with new makers and models in wider distributions. How will GM steer its 3 plug-in models? Will it introduce new ones? Is it really making progress on producing the “anti-Tesla”? etc.

Meh. There is nothing wrong with losing some sales by holding the line on price. Yeah, of course they could increase sales by cutting the price further but they are not in business to lose money . . . they will be out of business if they lose too much money.

Yeah, the ELR price is high. I suspect they are just scalping the early adopters and they’ll cut the price in later years.

And yes, the Spark EV is a compliance car. The need CARB credits too. I hope the car grows beyond that role.

I see the stagnant Volt sales as an indicator the the early adopters are all flushed out, and competitors are showing up. I think if you look at any vehicle, by year three, sales begin to drop off, and eventually curtail as the new model comes closer to production.
So, considering what is and was stacked up against the Volt, these November sales numbers look pretty damn good. Fox News didn’t kill it, the fire debacle didn’t kill it, upcoming competition didn’t kill it, the price tag didn’t kill it and what else?
Just yesterday didn’t we read about GM crossing it’s fingers for Tesla, hoping for a positive outcome on it’s gov’t investigation?
I think it’s safe to say that GM wants ALL of the vehicles it produces to succeed.

+90% ! lol Well you can play with the numbers all you want there Rainman, the fact remains that more Volts are being sold than ANY other plug-in electric. The Volt has been and continues to be the sales leader in the market for the 2nd calendar year in a row ! The “numbers” you speak will be about on par with last year which is good news. There will be no heads rolling, trust me. Sit back down in your arm-chair.

That is one single statistic being used to justify using harsh language about my broad comment concerning GM’s focus. Last I checked GM makes ZERO non-ICE vehicles readily available to the buying public. We all know that they have had the engineering and manufacturing capabilities to provide this since the EV1 days a decade plus ago. The Volt represents the ONE plug-in vehicle offered to the US buying public by GM and it still has an ICE. My comment was regarding GM’s business model and ICE vehicles. Every Volt sold (which I’m pleased is offered and doing so well BTW) still has an engine block, fuel tank, gasoline, fuel pump, fuel lines, fuel filter, fuel injectors, emissions control equipement, intake manifold, valves, valve springs, cams, pistons, rings, cranks, bearings, oil, oil filter, oil pump, oil lines, exhaust manifolds, exhaust pipes,catalytic converter, O2 sensors, anti-freeze, water pump, radiator, thermostat, spark plugs, plug coil, plug wires, many gaskets etc. Yes, most Volt drivers do all they can to use battery power over the ICE which is fantastic! However, GM still sold every one of them an Internal Combustion Engine (period- good or bad). Now, before you say how the Volt is a… Read more »

Unless CA and OR have seceded, the Spark EV is also offered to the US public, and has no engine. Granted, I’d prefer 50 state availability, but like the Volt’s rollout, that could also happen in the future.

I guess I hit a raw nerve here… The Volt is tops for EV safety, reliability and customer satisfaction. I am NOT attacking the car. In fact, I love the car and want to see it promoted, supported (ie inventory…) and developed into a diversified platform… I AM criticizing the suits that run GM. It is clear there are 2 things they care about: Their Trucks (high margin) and rebuilding brand reputation for their luxury product lines: Buick, Cadillac (high margin, higher margin). Dabbling in low-to zero-margin ventures like the Volt and SparkEV are fine…but I don’t see the investment to create the market. Being Pro-EV in my book is trying to CREATE the market. Folks commenting here often are very critical of Toyota for their “Anti-EV” stance yet they have repeatedly CREATED markets–most recently the Hybrid market. Before that they created (or were integral in the making of) an import Full-Size Truck market, a non-European upscale/luxury car market, an economy car market. Other than Trucks and large SUV’s, what market has GM CREATED in the last 30 years? GM still has the position in this market to do something. I just don’t think they will…and history supports my opinion.… Read more »

I understand where you are coming from, I’d like to see the Volt promoted better than it is.

I think we underestimate what it takes to run an organization of this level. If we were capable, you or I probably wouldn’t be on these boards right now. That said, I’d figure they would need to care about Trucks and SUV’s in order to generate profit for the things we’d like to see –like a next gen Volt, a SUV with the Voltec drivetrain, or a 200 mile EV. For better or for worse, they are less agile than a smaller company.

As far as investment to create the market, why would GM do these things at all:

..instead of sit at the sidelines like some of the other big guys?

I agree 100%. As I predicted at the beginning of the year, Volt sales are down and will continue to sag as competitors slowly enter the ring. What’s discouraging is the seeming lack of a high level EV cheerleader over at GM corporate. Bob Lutz and John Laukner are gone, and Mr. Ruess does sound like he is bent on profiteering off of ICE trucks and cars as they’ve done for ages – for the foresseab!e future. Prospects for a gen 2 Volt seem pretty bleak. While true that Toyota saw huge growth in a whole new hybrid space with gen 2 Prius, and Volt was supposedly deve!oped to leapfrog that technology, I don’t see GM following suit with a new-improved Volt. There’s Just too much profit to be made by selling ICEs to an uneducated public. N. Dakotan oilfields and a probable Canadian pipeline mean that low gas prices will kill the Volt. Maybe GM will spin off some iteration as a Cadillac and sell it for $50-60,000. Truly, we all understand secrecy and not revealing too much as to hurt sales of a current model, but the auto industry is so porous with informants and spy photographers willing… Read more »


By your logic, Nissan has been sabotaging the LEAF sales for the entire 2013 year by NOT ramping up production sooner for hot market like Atlanta…

Agreed for the most part. Perhaps due to costs not yet contained enough for mass adoption. Kicking dealers out of the Volt program for not buying battery tools for $10k and so on is one way to get your dealers to try to sell non-EV equipment. I would also look at buying a Spark EV on the east coast but they won’t be offered here.


I think that together with this report card, you also uploaded the entire line-up of month-old stories onto your front page… amirite?

Huh? I’m lost…Front page looks like “new” news to me

I guess it got fixed 🙂

Must have been someone working behind the scenes. Wonder if someone was trying to sabotage our sales day.

No chance of correcting Tesla sales numbers for 3d quarter? I mean Tesla published their sales in shareholder report

Hey Na,

Our numbers are correct for Tesla, or as close as we can come to being correct on a monthly basis (which Tesla does not release themselves). This monthly scorecard is for US only sales…so the number on the chart is not the same as Tesla’s worldwide sales. ie) Tesla (as per Q3) sold 15,500 Model S sedans this for the first 9 months of the year into the US, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, etc.,etc

Don’t they report quarterly, so adjustments can be made to the monthly estimates after a quarter ends?

2013 Q1 = 4742
2013 Q2 = 4966
2013 Q3 = 4338

Yes, that is exactly what happens at the end of each quarter. For Q1 and Q2 we had contained domestic sales, so that job was easy.

For Q3, Tesla reported a net amount of sales worldwide, as well as a vague reference to Europe deliveries being over 1,000 (as Tesla is not required at all to break out US sales at all)…however, we can check Model S registrations regionally outside the US monthly and come up with a pretty accurate overall read on US sales for any particular quarter.

By “we” Jay means “he.” I’m not checking “registrations regionally outside the US monthly.” That’s just nuts. Way too much work. You’d have to be as committed as an InsideEVs writer to do that sort of thing…oh wait…I mean, as committed as an IEV editor in chief. Yep, that’s what I meant to say.

I see a lot of debate here about GM. So here’s my two cents. They have the best plug-in vehicle for the money on the market right now, speaking of the Volt. They are light years ahead of Toyota and Ford. BMW might have something to compete with them soon, but the Volt will still be a bargain compared to the i3 and seeing what you get with each car. I’m convinced at this point that GM is just building enough Volts to satisfy demand and they are purposefully not trying to generate any extra demand. I suspect they aren’t making any money on the car and so there is no incentive to sell it harder. Having said that. I DO believe that GM sees the writing on the wall. I am willing to bet they are betting the bank on the next generation Volt. Just imagine if they put out a new Volt that meets these criteria: -More all electric range. -Better gas fuel economy -lower price tag -even better-looking bodystyle -5 seats Depending on how well they hit these specific targets, the next gen Volt could be a run-away success. I’m still holding out hope they’ll hit all… Read more »

+1 My thoughts exactly.

I am pretty sure that GM is half way there on the Gen II Volt and all its resources will be focused on that. 2014 model year will be a slow one for the Volt.

There are also Chevy dealers saying that some kind of plugin SUV adopting Voltec is in the work, but it would be hard for me to believe since GM likes to toute its plans early…. If that is true, then it will be a big impact to the entire plugin market….

So Nissan can’t make enough leaf’s, GM are struggling to keep their inventory stable, Smart has a 9 month backlog, Toyota have almost sold out of the PiP, Mitsi have run out of i-MiEV’s and have had to delay the launch of their latest plug-in because they a are struggling to keep up with global demand, BMW are also struggling to keep up with global demand before they have even launched their car, the compliance cars are mostly sold out (Fit, 500e, Spark). Oh and plug-in sales have pretty much doubled every year for the last 3 years. We have also seen a progression from a market that was essentially a few crazy Californians to a global industry. In the next 18 months we will see the Model X, i3, i8, another pointless Porsche, B-class, the outlander PHEV, e-golf (BEV with PHEV to follow) and perhaps the e-up!. That’s before you start to count the electric trucks, buses, Zoe’s, V60, V40, Saarb, Chinese, Malaysian, Indian or Korean offering, etc. My feeling is this market is supply constrained not constrained by big oil, not execs who hate EV’s, not Fox news, in fact not constrained by anything other than the fact… Read more »

Just had a thought about the e-up! do you think the fuel cell version will be called the f-up!

Here’s my prediction for Ford’s sales — another good month. Ok, not all that bold of a prediction:)

However, once the supply of 2013’s Energi’s dwindle down I wonder if we end up with a period of a few months (or more) where the sales for both Energi models decrease as rebates end up being lower for the the 2014’s?

Oversensitive Volt owner here… Howcome we get the “Despite five selling weekends” headliner and the Leaf doesn’t? Both vehicles had statistically flat sales months! Come on, Jay! Haha 😉

Nissan gets the “foot in mouth” for saying they decided to up production in May…and it is only starting to trickle in now. Hopefully come early 2014 we can once again start reporting on LEAF sales from more of a demand based perspective.

/getting really tired of talking about 2,000 units every month, lol

The question is.. how long do they have to “age” their batteries before they can put them into a production car?

Is Nissan really that incompetent that it takes them almost 1 year to ramp up production? If the Marketing team drops the price on the 2013 in hope to increase production, then why isn’t the production team keeping up? Bad logistics? Bad planning at Nissan? Or is it all that “lack of inventory” just a talk to increase sales? It is a classic Apple tactic of constraining supply to make the product more deisirable…

Also, the LEAF plants is shared with Nissan’s best selling model Altima. When the capacity of that plant is full, which model do you think Nissan will shift more toward? The profit-printing Altima or the razor thin margin on the LEAF?

Remember that all the automakers have to stay alive first before they go full electric. With their ICE cars, neither GM or Nissan can make their plugin cars…

Tesla is an exception and a small “start up” who heavily depending on 1 model which is “technically” NOT making a profit.

Also, Tesla doesn’t do any ads. It gets free coverage by people who love it and people who hate it….

They are battery constrained. Nothing to do with car assembly limitations.

So, they are worse than I thought. If they are truly in the EV business, then battery is the first thing to ramp up. With price drop of 2013 planned out in 2012 and they couldn’t foresee this demand is beyond reasoning…

Okay, maybe Nissan is just incompetent in planning.

Haha, fair enough. 🙂

Looking more broadly, seeing new models coming on each year is key and considering gas prices have been dropping I’d say the numbers are fine….


Well i believe whatever number is selling its beneficial for whole world especially developing world like India. GM & Nissan have plants in India and seeing the sales number may be in 3-4 years they will start making EV/PHEV vehicles for India as well

Anybody that figures ANY of these current Gen 1 “plug-in” nameplate numbers are suddenly going to “jump” up to something significantly higher than 2000-3000 units monthly is delusional / fooling themselves. Wishing is so , or “gaming” the numbers to make yourself feel better isn’t going to change that. It’s clear plug-ins are not really ever going to be an instant overnight success but a carefully measured, and gradual intrusion into the existing market. Patience will be required…

Looks like the Ford figures are in:

Focus EV – 130
Cmax Energi – 941
Fusion Energi – 870

In total Ford sold 1941 plug in vehicles, which is not bad. Looks like they took a small decline for November as well, but the numbers are still strong compared to previous months.

This seems to be a continual theme that Ford sells nearly 14 times as many PHEVs as they sell BEV. I suspect this will be a trend among all auto makers in the next few years.

If every manufacturer equalled or bettered their best month this year then we would just about make 14k sales in Dec. Assuming Smart have sold more than 10 cars this month we could break the 100k mark! ok it’s not going to happen but it would be good to get as close as possible to the 100k.