This time of year isn’t known for record electric car sales, but electric cars surprised everyone by holding their own in the month of May. The Nissan Leaf has been dominating the Chevy Volt for quite a while now, and has continued its dominance in May with its second-best month yet. Nissan sold 2,138 Leafs in May, up 319 percent over last year. In March, Nissan sold a record 2,236 units of its all-electric vehicle, which is still only 2 percent of Nissan’s total of 106,558 sales in May – also a new record for Nissan sales in May.
The introduction of a cheaper S model has buoyed Leaf sales throughout 2013, and the company has cut costs by shifting production from Japan to a plant in Tennessee. With 7,614 units delivered so far in 2013, the Nissan Leaf is definitely proving itself to be the competitor to beat for the Chevrolet Volt. The growing spread between Leaf and Volt sales might reflect the difference in the two cars’ costs – with a price tag of about $28,000, the Leaf has significantly undercut the roughly $40,000 Volt. The Leaf’s low price tag is also a result of Nissan trying to target a younger “green” demographic.
“Since launching the U.S.-assembled 2013 LEAF with a broader range of trims and reduced price, we’ve seen increasing interest and consistent performance for our electric vehicle,” Erik Gottfried, director of marketing for Nissan Leaf, said in an e-mailed statement. “… LEAF traditionally has sold great on the West Coast, and now we’re seeing places like Atlanta, Chicago and Denver become hot markets as well.”
“The Leaf has benefited from its rock bottom lease offer of $199 per month,” wrote Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “We believe that lease offers will continue to play a strong role in sales of EVs due to their high price point.”
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