May sales for both the all-electric Nissan Leaf and extended-range electric Chevy Volt were up compared to recent months, but the Volt did relatively better on a percentage basis, while Nissan did better in raw sales volume.
Specifically, Nissan delivered 2,104 Leafs representing a 32.5 percent year-over-year-decline and Chevrolet sold 1,618 Volts declining by just 3.9 percent year over year.
It’s an improvement for both and exactly what variables contribute to the equation is unclear, but springtime helps, and unknown is whether intelligence consumers now have of the 2016 Volt and 2016 Leaf are affecting 2015 model sales.
Before we get to that, the Leaf’s 2,104 sales in May were improved over April’s 1,553, March’s 1,817, and February’s 1,198. Likewise, the Volt’s 1,618 May sales were significantly better than April’s 905, March’s lowly 638, and February’s 693 – these all were down year over year in the 40-50-plus percent range for the Volt.
Unknown is whether now that the hoopla over the 2016 Volt is playing out and everyone is now forming opinions whether some existing Volt owners and would-be new buyers are not sufficiently excited about it to wait for it.
The Volt’s upsurge this month also follows news of “6,000” Volts in inventory and perhaps beyond Chevrolet’s current $299 lease deal and 2.9 percent APR, dealers may be extra motivated while the 2016 may not be as discounted?
Also muddying the mix is GM’s delivery schedule for the 2016 Volt had California orders starting last month but these won’t be filled till after an August production start. And, the rest of the country will have to wait until fall or early next year to take delivery of the 2016 Volt.
Deliveries delayed until 2016 will mean an extra year of waiting for purchasers to recoup a federal tax credit instead of just weeks or months.
Beyond this, the undertone on the GM-Volt.com forum includes strains of some Volt fans being less enthusiastic for the pending 2016 for a variety of reasons, though certainly others are excited about it.
The Volt’s best sales years were in 2012 and 2013 where it sold in the 23,000 range. Analyst Alan Baum projects 2016 sales at 25,000, 2017 sales at 21,500, and 2018 sales at 20,000 though he and others know anything can change and Chevrolet may beat the bearish forecast as 200-mile EVs begin showing up from Chevrolet, Tesla and Nissan.
As for the Leaf, Nissan does promote the car more and likewise offers sales and lease deals coupled with a No Charge to Charge free charging promo in 17 key markets.
However rumors of the 2016 Leaf potentially offering 20 more miles range or so began circulating later last month.
Further, the Leaf did have its best year on record last year with 30,200 sales, so beating that is all the more difficult.
Ultimately however, Baum says the uptick in both the Leaf and Volt sales do follow normal seasonal upswings.
The upside to both is each saw relatively better sales last month.