January can be a slower month for plug-in sales after end-of-tax-year sales are made in December, so Nissan’s very low 755 Leaf sales reported last month could be understandable, but more variables are in play.
Since last year the Leaf had fallen from a high watermark in 2014 of 30,200 U.S. sales, or an average 2,500 per month.
The 2016 Leaf in SV and SL trims has as much as 107-miles range, a 25-percent bump from 84 for the base S trim, and 2013-2015 models in all trims. That plus inexpensive leases, and a No Charge to Charge free juice promo are intended to juice sales.
But it may be buyers are holding out for more. One big wet blanket thrown on prospective EV buyers is Nissan’s 107-mile, twice refreshed five-year-old EV stickers for just a couple thousand less than will the new 200-mile Chevy Bolt due end of this year.
Tesla also is hoped to show its $35,000 estimated (and up) Model 3 in March, and even Nissan has repeatedly showcased a better battery, and has said it will release a next generation Leaf to truly compete with Bolt and M3. It’s believed this could be revealed by 2017 or 2018.
As it is, the 107-mile Leaf has been filtering into the dealer pipeline since November. November sales were 1,054 units, December’s were 1,347, and January’s are 755.
Consumers in this space tend to be tech savvy, mindful of product lifecycles for these first-generation cars expected to get better. Demographic comparisons between advanced-tech automobile buyers and consumer electronic buyers have been made.
Not helping things either has been that Nissan Leaf’s resale value has been underwhelming, tales of used low-mileage Leafs selling off lease for a relatively small fraction of new.
More variables could be considered, but bottom line is Nissan has not shown a rebound yet.