February 2013 Sales of Plug-In Vehicles Still Dismal in Canada; Chevy Volt Leads the Pack


O Canada, why don’t your residents buy plug-in vehicles?

2013 Nissan LEAF

2013 Nissan LEAF

Okay, that came off way less rhytmic than expected, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Canadians, in general, seem to show no love for plug-in vehicles.

Says who?  The automakers do by posting Canadian sales figures for plug-in vehicles.

February’s top-selling plug-in vehicle in Canada was the Chevy Volt.  The Nissan LEAF landed in second place, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid in third and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV rounded out the top four.

But the number of units sold in February 2013 are dismal all around.

  • Chevy Volt: 51
  • Nissan LEAF: 37
  • Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid: 25
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV: 5

We do need to mention there is one all-electric vehicle not mentioned on this list, the Tesla Model S.  As in the United States, Tesla does not report monthly sales figures, but we can tell you that at least 12 were sold furing the month via registration disclosures.

Need we continue?  Okay, last factoid: In February, combined sales of plug-in vehicles were only 130ish units.

We’re now so depressed that we lack the urge to add even one more word.

via Nissan Canada, General Motors Canada, Mitsubishi Motors Canada and Toyota Canada


Categories: Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota


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14 Comments on "February 2013 Sales of Plug-In Vehicles Still Dismal in Canada; Chevy Volt Leads the Pack"

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You have to understand that for Canada,

the cold is a big factor. It reduce the range of the Leaf by almost 50%. And even some Volt owner are disapointed by the performance of the car when it’s really cold. Even if they pre-heat the car some 2011-2012 model will start the ICE automatically when it’s minus 8 Celcius I think.
But you need to know that 50% of the sales are in Québec, Canada. So in this region, we start to see a lot of EV. More and more people are ganing interest.

Yes it’s galling when we advocates see poor sales results in all markets except the US and California in particular. Have early adopters completed their sales in these markets? It might be that mainstream buyers will not commit to a business case where the Volt (and other EVs) are significantly more expensive than conventional cars in capital costs and where the cost of money in leases is not the ridiculously low rate that is in the US?

A low cost of money, rebates, and dealer/GM discounting seems to be powerful Volt sales drivers.

I was intrigued some time ago with Colorado Volt sales. Before the California HOV variant was available and when Colorado had additional rebates similar in value to California, Volt sales were very poor. So for the US, buyer purchasing criteria in the US seems to more than price and cost of money.

I really hope that Nissan is able to put the cat amongst the pigeons with the new pricing of the Leaf. Really, they are almost being given away in California.

The pricing incentive surely is available in California which further backs Malcom’s statement that it is more than price. It is hard to imagine life without mobile phones and internet but even these took time and they did not require $20,000-$40,000 investments.

Incentives will help, but nothing will help as much as time. Studies show that we get to the first US million between 2018-2020. Events could move this prediction but if things stay the course this appears to be correct. A new 2012 Pike research study shows a global 3.8 million annually. It is hard to talk global millions when Canada just posted a monthly total of 130ish but Vincent explained a lot of the reasons why.

In the not so distant future (maybe a decade or less), batteries will evolve to handle the cold and Canada will be able to take advantage of this technology as well. Hey, does Canada have electricity? (A dig for the chief writer/editor of this site who happens to be Canadian)

While not as bad results as most Euro countries, and certainly not as bad as anything Asiatic, Canada has a double whammy. Climate and pricing. Pricing can be solved, but not easily. Despite a near parity in currency there is a policy of ‘up-charging’ on MSRPs in Canada. And while not terribly intrusive on most entry to mid level cars, it hurts the higher end…especially when you are trying to make a “EVs run cheap” argument. ie) 2012 Nissan LEAF base is $40,513.36, Volt is $43,550 Compounding the problem is an incongruenct rebate system run provincially. So you get $8,500 in Ontario, $8,000 in Quebec, $5,000 in British Columbia, and nothing most other places. With Ontrio and Quebec being the two largest car-buying provinces, vehicles have been additionally “priced up” by OEMs to sell in those markets…making them out of reach everywhere else. Climate is another biggie…that can’t be solved. This is my third winter in the north with a LEAF. And I can’t imagine how you sell a pure EV as a salesman in February when it is -15F (-26C) outside, and there is a sign on the car saying, “your Nissan LEAF™ is built to go 160 km… Read more »

One interesting thing is Leaf isn’t selling in Vancouver too – with a climate similar to Seattle’s. Looks like whole of Canada sold less Leafs than what one dealer sells here.

Jay, you forgot to mention the terrific 5-8% financing/leasing rates on the Leaf and Volt and the fact that those rebates end in 7 days on March 31. Until the dealers start offering the US $199-299 lease deals up North, things are going to be slow moving especially after end of month!!

It’s hard to stomach the surcharge when your 30 minutes from the border and waaaaaay better pricing, plus I checked with Nissan and 2013 Leafs not arriving in Canada til July!!

Anyone else highly annoyed by the writing style that Eric Loveday brought here from Autoblog? Seriously, cut out the whole “we” thing in your writing, it seriously detracts from it when you are obviously voicing your own opinion here.

Less Autoblog style and more individual style would be good here and I suspect a large reason why many people visit this site.

Many potential Canadian Leaf buyers are aware that the 2013 has a much better heating system to handle the Canadian winters so they are willing to wait, but Nissan refuses to sell the 2013s in Canada until the 2012 are all sold. So the stand-off continues….

I was just at the Ottawa autoshow. Ford had their plugin fusion front and center but you couldn’t touch it or get into it. Gm had the VoLt displayed like any other car and the display want on.

If you want to get the word out the car makers have to do a better job. Imagine you can step into a $100k jag or Audi but the fusion was locked up. Wtf? All I heard were people saying too expensive and battery’s don’t last and cost a fortune to replace. Miss information continues to abound folks. A bit depressing – at least that’s how I felt after the show.

We are also missing Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi sales. Fusion Energi sales have not started yet in Canada.

With total Feb US vehicle sales of 1,192,299 and plug-in sales of 7,381 we are at .62%

For Canada Feb with total vehicle sales of 103,341, plug-in sales would need to be 640 to match the US.

Smart EV is supposed to be priced about the same in Canada as in US and be about 20k after rebate. This should get some people interested.

I think the Renault Zoe concept of leasing the battery would be an excellent way to get people into EV’s because you lower the cost of entry and remove the fear of battery life. I hope we see that here someday.

Wait until the Mits Outlander starts selling there. IMO, it will set the market on fire.

Jay hits it right on the head. The price point at which we Canadians are subject to is just appalling. In general, most Canadians are nature-loving to their core most times. But the combination of high prices, coupled with high lease/finance rates (5% +) leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths. Especially when you can get the leaf for $199 and we see the advertisements all the time from the states.

Also, Nissan said they would release the Canadian pricing in Spring for us Canadians and yet here we are with NOTHING but patience to hold onto. That Ford Fusion Energi certain looks interesting, maybe others who are waiting for the new Leafs to come out will end up waiting a bit longer for that instead if this waiting game of Nissans continues…

Pricing / lease rates is the main issue. The Nissan leaf is the second best selling car in Norway in April Month. (Source: EV World ). 4500 leafs have been sold in the last 18 months making Norway a EV world leader on a per capita basis. Strong incentives including the waiving of the 25% VAT tax makes a big difference. I am a Canadaian who has spent a great deal of time in Norway on business and their weather in the winter can also be very cold. If Canadaian car dealers wish to move EV’s they have to get the pricing/ lease rates competitive.