By on November 15, 2012

A game of two questions: How many Nissan Leaf do you think were sold so far? And where does it sell the best? Answer after the jump.

There you go:

Official numbers, factory-direct. How close were your guesses?

(FY=Fiscal Year. FY12= April 2012 to date.)

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59 Comments on “QOTD: How Many Leafs Were Bought So Far?...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    Someone posted similar figures in another thread, so I was tipped off. When I read them originally, I’ll admit I was suprised they’ve sold that many.

    Probably because I have yet to see even one on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      Me too. Though really, that’s not so surprising given those numbers. Even if there are 16,000 of them on US roads, that means there are an average of 300-350 of these per state, with most of them probably clustered around California rather then the northern states. I’ve never seen one on Canadian roads, either.

      • 0 avatar
        Rick T.

        Quite a few around the south Nashville suburbs of Brentwood, Cool Springs, and Franklin near the Nissan headquarters. I know a marketing guy there and he says he got quite a deal. It’s a perfect car if you live in those suburbs where most of the executives live.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Not to disagree in functionality since Leaf is essentially similar to a golf cart, but let me play devil’s advocate. You’re a successful executive outside of the auto industry, and you can have any car within reason (excluding Rolls/Bentley/Ferrari etc)… do you even want a Leaf, or similar Prius/Volt?

        If I am spending company cash its going to be something high end, I can’t imagine being vice president of something and cruising around in egg-shaped Prii.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @28-cars-later: “I can’t imagine being vice president of something and cruising around in egg-shaped Prii.”

        Vice presidents are a pretty small market. What does this have to do with anything?

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        A one-percenter is going to roll with a Fisker Karma or Tesla Model S if they are inclined to go alt energy.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        My brother who lives in Manhattan owned a Leaf, bought in L.A. in Sept 2011 and hauled cross-country behind an F150 to Manhattan.

        He sold it earlier this year to a guy in Huntsville, AL, who owns a golf course there.

        Biggest complaints my brother had was limited range, lack of available public charging stations, and horrendously long charging times on a 15-amp 120v wall outlet in his high-rise.

        He’s always been an early adopter but I think that EVs and Hybrids were one adventure he could have done without and will never repeat again.

        So he and his wife continue to get around in her 2009 Camry and his 2008 F150. There’s something to be said for the good old ICE.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        I’ve seen a few Leafs running around. In Huntsville AL.

        More Volts, though. There’s one that parks at the work complex (around a thousand cars), and it’s not uncommon to see one on the road here.

  • avatar
    Whuffo2

    The quoted statistics make sense; island countries have radically different driving conditions and what works well in the US isn’t good on an island and vice versa.

    I live in Metro Manila, and the highest speed limit I’ve seen is 60 Kph; in your terms, about 37 MPH. And you’re unlikely to ever travel any distance at that speed; too much traffic. If you get out of town on the expressways you can find speed limits up to 100 Kph; that’s 61 MPH in your terms. Where your speed is determined by outside forces and all that’s left is economy and comfort – those large V8 powered monsters that Americans love are pretty much useless here. They won’t get you anywhere any quicker – but they’ll be harder to maneuver and burn a lot more fuel as everyone points and snickers at you.

    In the near future, you’re going to have to change to vehicles more like what we enjoy; smaller, but well equipped and comfortable with adequate performance. You can’t buy them yet but they’re coming; imagine a Lexus version of the Toyota Corolla; we call it a Corolla Altis and they’re considered a midsize car – and they’re very, very nice. Our Camry is sold in the US as a Lexus ES. Your small cars are stripped down low powered sh!tboxes intended to drive the purchaser upscale to a more expensive purchase; it doesn’t have to be that way.

    The big detail that keeps being missed: Oil is an energy source. Other “fuels” like batteries or hydrogen are not; they’re energy storage and require a power station somewhere to recharge the batteries or split water molecules. Ultimately, you have to pay to drive and why spend more when you can get all you need for less?

    You’ll have to get past the “V8 manhood extender” attitude before you can enjoy the benefits of more efficient vehicles, though.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      Good to see misinformation is alive and well and the small unit jokes are almost immediate. It’s tiring how quickly somebody thinks up that bon mot.

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find America is not producing or purchasing the same cars as 1972. You’ll find that you cannot buy a Camry here with a V8, nor an Accord, Fusion, Altima, Maxima, MKZ, Regal, Sonata, Malibu, or Avenger, and that’s pretty much our largest auto-segment. You’ll also find you can’t get a V8 in your Impala or Taurus anymore, but Chrysler — a niche player anymore — will sell you a niche product, a giant RWD V8 land boat.

      You’ll also find that, although the Leaf doesn’t work here (I’m sure if you had a geographic breakdown of those Leaf sales, it would be highly geographically clustered in a few urban areas where there is charging infrastructure), there are some other hybrid vehicles that sell quite well — not just the Prius, but Ford is doing well with its assault with similar technology that isn’t plug-in dependent, and Hyundai moves their Sonata Hybrids quite well.

      There is a good question as to why America will need to adopt physically smaller vehicles. Lighter would be great, of course, but when you have an interstate highway system where you can cruise 800 miles in a day, you really would like a long wheelbase as you go between jurisdictions that have adequate road funding and those that are letting things return to nature a little bit.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        O God I love my RWD V8 man-boat. HEMI FMFW!!!11!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “man-boat”

        Love it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Ironically while the United States is not purchasing automobiles similar to those in 1972, they are producing woefully underpowered ones similar to the ones that came out *after* 1972.

        Clearly there is a market for hybrid/EV, and even more so a market for small four cylinder cars, but what the automakers are ignoring is the demand for more powerful yet reasonably fuel efficient rides delivered by a V6 midsize (only MKZ and Accord in your even offer it IIRC). As you point out even a V6 -let alone a V8- is becoming a rarity in mainstream cars and this is in every way a mistake of automotive planners and CAFE.

        Leaf may do very well yet, and it may not, but I think you’ll find a lot is going to have to happen before hybrid/EV become the dominant norm and not merely a novelty.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If you want to understand the current state of the American car market, “American Graffiti” is not a good source of information.

      The top selling cars in the US today have four-cylinder engines. They do tend to be one size class larger than the most popular models that one finds in most other markets (with back seats in the “D” segment that are larger than one finds in Europe or Japan), but that’s about the only difference.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve driven in Angeles City in the Philippines and been a passenger in Metro Manila.

      I grew to actually like the Filipino driving anarchy, which basically boils down to white and yellow lines in the road being suggestions, and use of every inch of roadway no matter how dubious a proposition that may be, but it is definitely not designed for high-speed driving. The parent poster has no idea of the joy of driving a powerful car on an open road because, as he says, there is really no such thing in his country.

      As a result I suggest he leaves commentary about American driving conditions to Americans. We can afford to run fast cars, especially with the dramatic increases in efficiency we are seeing, and I really don’t see us giving them up any time soon.

      D

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Ah yes, the joy of driving a powerful car on the open road with a too-low speed limit and a revenue enhancement officer hiding behind every other bridge abutment. Because it takes 300hp to cruise at 78mph with teh cruise control on. Which is the reality of driving in the US. Anything more than about 175hp in an average non-sporting mid-size car is just penis compensation.

        As to the topic at hand, here in Maine I know of exactly ONE Leaf sold, to my gadget-loving work-at-home geek buddy. Suits his rather limited needs, though I think a Prius C would have been more practical and just about as cheap. They are pretty much giving away Leafs here though. Seriously discounted AND a fantasy-land residual on the lease.

    • 0 avatar
      SqueakyVue

      “Imagine a Lexus version of the Toyota Corolla”

      We have that. It is called the Lexus IS.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      The big detail that keeps being missed: Oil is an energy source. Other “fuels” like batteries or hydrogen are not; they’re energy storage and require a power station somewhere to recharge the batteries or split water molecules.

      Actually, oil, coal, natural gas, etc. are all energy storage, whose source was the Sun all those millions of years ago. To be technically pedantic, all matter is energy storage, it’s just a matter of what is needed to convert it (back) into useful energy..

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        Nuclear fission I believe originally came from the Sun as well, since all the heavier elements are forged in stars. Maybe some of that comes from other stars too. I don’t know.

        If all matter is energy storage, I guess the Big Bang was the ultimate power source. Perhaps we should work on developing another one.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    17k is a lot of Leafs! That’s a lot less gas being burned! Yay Nissan!

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Really? Over the same time scale 30 million + cars and trucks were sold. So I don`t think 0.05% makes that much difference. As others have said other electric/hybrid cars have sold better, even the much maligned Volt which is on course for 20000 sale sin the US in 2012 alone (i.e. more than the Leaf over a 2-3 year period). Range anxiety was real.

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      Really? But more coal being burned and more fuel oil being burned and more plutonium (or whatever) being…fizzed(?).
      Yay not knowing where electricity comes from!

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Yay for misusing a statement for anti-enviromental logic! I’m actually not suggesting you’re anti-environmental, I think most people just don’t want to change the status quo simply because they’re lazy and satisfied even if unsustainable. They use cynicism to justify their laziness in most cases. The small impact that electric cars have on the grid is neglible. In the long run with solar panels being put up on individual houses the impact of electric cars will be offset.

        Leafs are the first step. 46K in 3 years is not a bad start. As the new CAFE regs kick in the drive for efficiency will pick up. The worst of it is we could have been 10-20 years closer if we would have kept at it in the 80s and 90s instead of shelving it. Progress like this is a necessity whether we like it or not. Our status quo cannot be maintained and being cynical is just pointless.

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    Am I the only one who thinks these are not impressive numbers at all, especially considering the trend?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So Nissan misses every projected sales number they have announced, had to cut their US sales number by 50% last year to create a viable target, and yet no one…oh never mind.

  • avatar
    Wacko

    Over priced golf cart.

    • 0 avatar
      Stevo

      Overpriced? Sure, they are expensive right now. Golf cart? Please. A Leaf is a practical city vehicle. I see them every day here in the Seattle area where they make sense for quite a few. Our cheap (hydro) electricity and expensive gas help the calculation for those so inclined. I am confident I will buy something similar sometime in the next five or so years as my kids get to driving age. Range beyond 100 miles for me is a non-issue. Minivan? Check. Highway diesel cruiser? Check. The vehicle missing from my household is a smaller city car. Electric is a bonus since gas stations are getting fewer and why waste the time? Leave every morning with a full charge that will get us anywhere we need to go in that car. And no ICE maintenance to boot. If we are road tripping or hauling lots, we use another vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        +1 on Volt sightings in Puget Sound. There are a TON of them here. I was at Ikea about six weeks ago and they have three electric car charging stations. All three occupied, and of the cars were Leaves. Also saw a Leaf in my local ‘hood at Walgreens, also plugged in at their charging station. A person at my work has one.

        In defense of electric cars and the A and B segment I also see a significant number of Volts running around here (more Leaves). Rather surprised at the lack of Prius V — only seen one. Ton of regular Prii on the roads though.

        The big shocker I’ve seen around here is the Chevy Spark. If GM is selling 2,000 to 3,000 a month I swear most of them are selling here. I’ve already seen six in the wild. Maybe because they stand out with their looks, which although is controversial at best, it does look better in person.

        If you’re doing yeoman duty in Puget Sound and you don’t need to do regular drives from Seattle to Tacoma a Leaf is really an ideal car. On the flip side if your travels take you to the pass to ski, forget it, the range isn’t there. You are pretty much trapped in an area from about Stanwood to the north and Tacoma to the south and about North Bend to the east (two-way drive range). That isn’t a large area – but for some it is all they need.

  • avatar
    BrianL

    Is Canada included on there? Is the Leaf being sold in Canada?

    Could you do a similar chart for the Volt/Ampera?

    I know the Volt is doing much better than the Leaf in the states, but no idea how it is doing abroad.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      A friend who works at a Nissan franchise in Canada assures me they try and sell them in Canada.

    • 0 avatar

      “I know the Volt is doing much better than the Leaf in the states, but no idea how it is doing abroad.”

      The Voltech platform has outsold the Leaf by 10,000 Units for the first 10 months. More importantly Volt is up 3X compared to 2011 while the leaf has wilted.

      Year to date voltech sales.
      US: 19309
      Europe – Ampera : 3967 Volt: 273
      Canada: 1075
      China sales are too low GM doesn’t bother reporting: lets say 200
      Other Asian Markets: Unknown. Prolly 0.
      Australia: Sales started Nov 1.

      Total : 24,824

      Why aren’t EVs going gangbusters in EU where they make the most sense. Gas is too expensive and most EU countries import most of their oil. EVs are great in countries with very high renewable electricity production. Denmark for example gets 20% of their electricity from wind energy. An EV in Denmark would do 200 pollution free miles out of every 1000.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    As I’ve said before, I see them nearly daily here in the eastern burbs of Sacramento. If you told me all 17000 of them were sold in Sacramento and San Francisco, I’d believe it.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      Agree, I live in Davis, on the Western side of Sac and they are a common sight in these parts. Of course, I also still see a ton of the old RAV4 EVs driving around here as well and the “psychographics” of Davis tend to skew pretty green.

      There isn’t much in the way of public charging infrastructure that I know of but the Sacramento area is compact enough that a car with this range can take care of a commuter or stay-at-home mom’s daily driving needs easily. Gasoline is also more expensive in CA than in most (all?) other states, so the calculation here is different. Plus, like I’ve said before, most suburban families have at least two cars, so our weekend trips to Tahoe (about 90 minutes away) can be taken care of by the second car. I really believe an EV can suit the needs of a lot of people if one doesn’t think from the perspective that every car in your fleet has to do everything at any time.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      These are all over the SF Bay Area and tend to hog the charging spots at work.

  • avatar
    BrianL

    The plant in Tennessee was supposed to be for 150k units annually. They were looking at production numbers of 500k units annually world wide. The Volts missed projections look a lot smaller than this.

  • avatar
    savuporo

    Surprised about low numbers in EU. High gas prices, heavy incentives, much more compact cities than US .. everything would favor EVs more.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    I live in Los Angeles and see several Leafs a day. They are hard to miss due to their high-mounted LED brake lights. Volts seemed to get off to a slow start here, but have really taken off over the past six months. I now see more Volts daily than Leafs. Probably see about 5-10 Volts a day, and I don’t spend that much time on the road (20 mins in the morning and the same in the evening during commuting hours).

  • avatar
    holydonut

    I wonder what the inventory level is for this car. Dealers in the SF/Bay area have an inventory turn at around a week on these things. They can’t get enough of them with all the tax credits. Companies are also getting massive subsidies to install charging stations.

    All told the Leaf is a “success” given the fact that non-Leaf customers really subventing the infrastructure and sales.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    The only Leaf I’ve ever seen (well, the only one I’ve actually ID’ed) was plugged into the charging station that the Port Orchard, Washington government has installed downtown. I didn’t see an electric meter on the charging station, so I guess the electricity’s on the taxpayers.

    • 0 avatar
      magicboy2

      Yeah, I’m sure that $2 of electricity is really putting a strain on the residents of Port Orchard.

      Also, subsidies to oil companies were how much last year? $4 billion you say??

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    I guess that leaf sales are falling off the twig…
    I also would hazard a guess that nissan execs are laughing out loud behind their lilly white little girly hands as the Prius recall gathers pace. Imagine losing your steering with a a tonne of batteries underneath you. it would be like misreading a market with an electric car.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    I have to say these EVs are for the show, soon as they were beyond the radar screen of Journalist, joe public they’ll ditch car and jump into a carbon spewing 10k litre Bentley locomotive move from stop light to stop light in zero secs.
    Folks like J Leno probably have one or two for the show, essentially something for his pool boy, butler, chef to gather supplies at home.

    Not to disagree in functionality since Leaf is essentially similar to a golf cart, but let me play devil’s advocate. You’re a successful executive outside of the auto industry, and you can have any car within reason (excluding Rolls/Bentley/Ferrari etc)… do you even want a Leaf, or similar Prius/Volt?

    If I am spending company cash its going to be something high end, I can’t imagine being vice president of something and cruising around in egg-shaped Prii.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Not to disagree in functionality since Leaf is essentially similar to a golf cart”

      Have you driven the Leaf? You really should. It’s not a general purpose car, but the low-end torque can really slingshot away from stopsigns in a very satisfying way, and it does as well as any other small car on the Interstate. The Lead also has astoundingly good NVH, on account of the fact that the vehicle doesn’t have an explosion-engine. I’m pretty sure it can beat my V6 Escape on the stopsign gauntlet that gets me to work, but the Escape wins on an Interstate roadtrip.

      The Leaf is not a general purpose car, and the range limitations are real. It won’t work for everyone, and it won’t be the only car in your driveway if you do own one. But it ain’t no golf cart.

      …”You’re a successful executive outside of the auto industry, and you can have any car within reason (excluding Rolls/Bentley/Ferrari etc)… do you even want a Leaf, or similar Prius/Volt?”

      What does this have to do with anything? The people who are interested in the Prius and the Volt at this point (and who were buying the Prius 10 years ago) are early adopters who are interested in technology and/or the environment. In my crowd, these people tend to be senior engineers who are making $90k-ish and and have put their kids through college, and so they have some financial wiggle room to try something cool. These people ain’t no VPs, but they are the people that VPs come to for advice on technological matters.

      The Prius and the Volt really aren’t in the same category. The Volt is a luxury car that with some ground-breaking technology under the hood. The Prius and Leaf both come across as practical everyday commuter cars. Yes, the Leaf costs as much as the Volt — but the interiors suggest that Nissan thinks the price of the Leaf will come down over time, while GM expects the Volt to remain expensive. The Prius is priced pretty comparably to comparable non-hybrids at this point.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    for short trips stop n go is actually better suit to have EV, since the engine wont be running when stopped.
    there’re few new cars ( cayenne and some high end jap cars ) which stop the engine when stop at stop light.
    not sure if their starter are as big as the Prius which is the generator/ starter/ motor all in one.
    should u have a reg starter, will u burnout the starter prematurely?

    frequent starting will also wear out batt too, soon the eng ran the charging system will push juice in full tilt or else one of these stop it wont run and whoever scatter brain driver behind u thought u actually is moving and rear end u, now u got a sore neck a free holiday to some place warm too.

    I guess Phillipine uses coal or gas gen for elec, some fnds told me they do suffer from brown out every so often, so whats going to happen when more EVs plug into the grid system, as suggested the grid system usage were lowest at night, but u think these EV folks will abide the rule only to charge at night?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    The numbers are interesting but the impact of the Leaf is greater than the numbers. Remember the impact on the international psyche of GM’s EV1 and how many of them do you think were made?
    Come to think of it, the significance came from GM recalling and crushing them. Maybe Nissan’s best option for exposure is to recall and crush all the Leafs (Leaves??)

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      GM did not “recall” and crush the EV1. None of them were sold. They were all on leases, and were NEVER intended to remain in the public’s hands. They were a beta test/trial balloon, and GM learned a lot from the experience. Includig the fact that some people will grant themselves the right to demand after the fact somehting they were told up front that they would not be offered.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Steve65:

        That’s the reality from a legal standpoint.

        But, as we all know, people can feel screwed even when a company follows the law. The unwritten social contract may not carry much legal weight, but it does define how people *feel*.

        In the case of the EV1, it looks to me like most-everyone who was involved with the program genuinely thought they were changing the world, and had some great technology working for real people in the real world to prove it.

        It’s true that this mushy social stuff only exists in the heads of the people involved, and you’re technically correct about the legalities of how the program was set up. But expectations of the people involved in the project explain why a so many people people are still really really pissed off about the whole thing a decade later.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        That is what GM said after they pulled them back and destroyed them. They knew they were leases but normally leases end with an option to buy. I know the convuluted tax story behind their destruction but lets be honest the EV1 was a threat to spark a trend that would have harmed GM’s bottom line as a servicer and seller. The tech was premature but was left to wither until the Prius came along and really it’s a shame we lost a decade of technology due to conservative politics being resistant to the movement of tech.

  • avatar

    So Europeans as usual are behind the curve. Why everyone else are buying less of Leaf they just discovered it.

  • avatar
    protomech

    Worth noting that FY12 covers less than eight months at this point.

    We’ll see what the final tally ends up at, but extrapolating out to a full 12 month sales window it’s not far off of FY11 sales.


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