As production winds down for the 2015 Nissan Leaf in anticipation of a 2016 replacement, sales declined 45 percent from June’s 2,074 to July’s 1,174.
Nissan offered no commentary as to why it sees the sales declining, but it may not be as simple as consumer interest decreasing.
Certainly consumers are sitting back as the 2016 Leaf could be here as soon as October, and as the all-new 2016 Chevy Volt is delivered in October and the fourth generation 2016 Toyota Prius also is pending, but there may be more to it than that.
According to Michigan-based analyst Alan Baum, Nissan has tapered production at its Smyrna, Tenn. plant steadily this year.
Specifically, number of units produced are as follows: Jan. 3,339; Feb. 2,587; Mar. 2,139; Apr. 2,575; May 1,569; June 504.
As you can see while sales dropped by a sizable 900 units from June to July, production was slashed by 1,065 units.
What this means for actual supply in local markets is up in the air, and Nissan certainly is not out of cars, but the number of “days on hand” has decreased since January to a low last month. The number of “days on hand” is a calculated number, not an actual number of cars on hand, and refers to number of days until the automaker is all out of cars to sell.
This has dropped from 148 in January to a low of 62 in June, and this could mean local unavailability at specific dealers of specific trims may be slowing sales. This is not clear, but at least definite is there are fewer cars than there were just a few months ago.
The Chevy Volt has also seen sales whither this year as it’s in an in-between time from 2015 to 2016 model year, and Prius sales are also down and have been for months. Volt supplies which are better known have not been the problem. There has been between 4,000-6,000 Volts available which means no shortage, and consumers simply know for a fact the 2016 Volt is much improved and already orders are being accepted in California.
Of course myriad other factors come into play to partially explain sales declines, not least being lower gas prices and perhaps even several negative articles in recent months alleging electrified vehicles’ green credibility is overstated.
It’s a shaky market for these reasons and more, and ultimately sales results are anyone’s guess when it gets right down to it, but also believed is Nissan is preparing a higher-range Leaf for 2016. And, this is enough to make people take pause all by itself.
The automaker has not announced that it will indeed do so, but InsideEVs reported it’s very likely a 105-mile range Leaf may come to replace the 84 mile EPA rating of the 2015 model.
If so, this would be a stop-gap measure until the 2017 Leaf arrives – and after a longer time interval than Chevrolet took to replace the Volt launched the same month as the Leaf in December 2010.
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan has said a 250-mile range Leaf mule is in testing in Japan for the 2017 Leaf, and Nissan does have a new battery chemistry.
Meanwhile the number of those who stepped up last month and took the present goods was cut significantly.