By on June 8, 2015

Nissan Leaf

Like the leaves in autumn, sales of the Nissan Leaf are falling amid a flurry of changes coming to the EV this summer.

Nissan expects to see sales of its EV to steeply drop off in July, when the Georgia’s $5,000 tax credit rides off into the sunset, Automotive News reports. There’s also an oncoming wave of Leafs whose leases are ending, bringing diminished resale values with it. The automaker is fighting back with a $5,000 credit toward buying the cars when said leases expire, though Nissan senior vice president for U.S. sales Fred Diaz says he doesn’t expect the program “to completely turn things around.”

Another issue affecting sales is the ongoing low fuel prices at the pump: at a national average of $2.750 per AAA — around a dollar below what it was at this time in 2014 — consumers are turning towards trucks and SUVs, leaving more efficient offerings like the Leaf and Toyota Prius on the table. While sales of the EV are down 26 percent during the first five months of this year, Nissan’s truck sales rose 17 percent over the same period.

Though Diaz acknowledges fuel prices are hurting Leaf sales, he says they won’t compare to the end of Georgia’s tax credit, which has helped make the EV a huge hit for Nissan in the state. Diaz also admits he nor his company have an idea as to how severe said decline would be once it began.

Despite falling sales, however, Nissan plans to mine for sales gold elsewhere, such as with its “No Charge to Charge” program introduced in Denver in June. The program allows new Leaf owners to charge their cars for free at public fast-charge stations during the first two years of ownership, as is already in place in 16 markets thus far.

There’s also word the automaker will increase the range of the Leaf from 84 miles to 105 miles with a new battery pack for the 2016 model. Said model is due in showrooms around the end of summer or the start of fall.

[Photo credit: Nissan]

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30 Comments on “Nissan Leaf Sales Expected To Fall Steeply This Summer...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I still don’t think that coincidental lower gas prices have had much actual effect on EV sales. While EV buyers don’t miss gas stations, this isn’t the primary reason they buy the car.

    Tesla’s sales remain strong.

    Leaf sales suffer from a stale design, now in its 5th year. Leaf 1.5 (25% more battery, same body) won’t help a lot, but the mythical Leaf 2.0 should. Nissan’s silence on these two vehicles is obviously an attempt to buy time.

    Volt 2.0 may do OK, but since it’s a hybrid Volt 1.0 has suffered from lower fuel prices.

    The i3 is doing OK, but seems to have plateaued despite its fresh design. It’s too expensive and small.

    Most other EVs are low-volume compliance cars, and/or don’t have serious mfr backing. Ford, Fiat, Chevy, VW, MB, and Kia are all in this group.

    I think most EV drivers are awaiting the mythical 200-mile EV for mid-size prices, with the Bolt and Model 3 being the leading candidates.

    BTW, Nissan is now sweetening the buyout incentives again, but it doesn’t affect my 12 Leaf’s 3-year lease. They’d have to offer me $10k to have me even consider buying the car.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, Tesla sales are strong because the thing’s bloody awesome.

      Leafs? No offense…but not so awesome. The slice of the market that this vehicle fits is small.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Most EV buyers aspire to Tesla; that’s no secret.

        Actually, the slice of the market for the Leaf is quite large – lots of drivers have daily commutes compatible with a Leaf. But they are afraid – for many good reasons – to take the plunge.

        • 0 avatar

          I want a Tesla, but the S would be a pain on my narrow local roads and tough in the parking garages I use. A Model 3 – that’s another story. I’m into EVs for the drive-train. Love the torque and the quiet. Full acceleration the mini jet engine sound is pretty cool.

      • 0 avatar

        By sales, I think you mean leases.

  • avatar

    I’d like to see fewer of these “We Expect Something to Happen in the Future, Maybe” style articles. Speculation is not news.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The obvious thing to do is take all those lease-return Leafs, put the new battery packs in them, then flip ’em at a moderate discount.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’d consider Nissan’s buyout discount for my Leaf if it included a new battery.

    • 0 avatar

      They’d export the leaves to other places (i.e. Singapore, just a city state that people don’t drive much) as is instead of replacing the battery (most of the cost of the car) and sell it in the US.

  • avatar

    $7-8k for an off-lease Leaf with <30k miles starts to make sense to me.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      If you even consider a used Leaf, read this first to avoid the pitfalls:

      • 0 avatar

        Used Leafs aren’t anywhere near $7-8k around here. I can get one in California for around $10k, but the 200-mile drive back to Vegas would take me 2-3 days in a Leaf!

        Let’s see what happens when more cars come off lease before I need to read any articles :)

  • avatar

    “leaves in autumn, sales of the Nissan Leaf are falling amid a flurry”

    Cameron, with pun-fu like that, you could be writing for The Economist.

  • avatar

    Is that Diaz in the photo? If I were that short I’d be interested in a Leaf as a DD since work is so close.

  • avatar

    Not a good trend for the dealer in my town. I cycle to work right past a back lot the local Nissan dealer uses to keep overflow cars. THere are about 10 Leaf(s) tightly packed in, dusty and looking like they dont expect to have to move any of them soon.

    Bettign out here in Calif, one can lease a Leaf for a shockingly low amount if demand continues to fall. Alas, my wife keeps the mini-van in the garage, so I wouldnt have a way to charge an EV, even if I wanted a Leaf.

  • avatar

    EV consumers tend to be more well-informed than your typical Corolla buyer, and they know that the current Leaf is well past its expiration date. Though for those of us on the left coast, it may mean ridiculously sweet deals on a current Leaf. I would probably bite for $99 with no-money-down :-)

  • avatar

    GEE – I WONDER how sales would be if it was the size of a Maxima and cost less than $50,000?

    Yet another slow, liberal, greener, compact FAILURE.

    Stay out of my lane.

    • 0 avatar

      Ha ha.. u not know yet ’bout LEAFCAT!

    • 0 avatar

      They’ve sold over 170,000 thousand Leafs world wide. That’s a failure?

      I’ll stay out of your lane for now, but I hope you reciprocate when I upgrade to a Model 3 P85D – or in a moment of insanity buy a Rimac

  • avatar

    The Leaf Lease deals have changed quite a bit since the 2012 model year. Then it was $3600 down with $49 or $99 a month payments depending on the package. The residual was closer to $20K. Now that the 2012 models are available for $12-13K asking price, the new leases reflect a very different residual. My local stealership shows $299/mo with nothing down or $171 with $2500 down. Residuals between $10-12K. Now that the leases cost double (or more) than before, no wonder why they’re sitting on the lot.

  • avatar

    The Leaf can be equipped with DC fast charging, and it is soon to become available with a 100-mile battery pack. That’s not quite Chevy Bolt levels of game-changing, but it makes a real difference: it means someone in Los Angeles can take a nonstop weekend trip to Santa Barbara, and recharge in 30 minutes at Costco. I just hope Nissan liquid-cools that big battery this time.

    I don’t mind the Leaf’s styling – I like French cars with their hatchbacks and bustle butts, and that’s exactly what the Leaf resembles. But yes, it’s due for a refresh; and yes, I’d prefer a little more sporty to go with all that spacious practicality.

    Honestly, the biggest downside to driving an electric car is having to put up with the likes of BTSR. Someone should have him test drive a Fiat 500e with the traction control switched off — that would pull his head out of his ass in a hurry.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t call the Leaf a paragon of styling, but it’s better than 90 percent of currently produced cars, that are just plain fugly. And I don’t think it needs to be “refreshed,” since most refreshments these days don’t improve styling, although if they could make it both more sporty looking and better-looking, I’d be fine with that. Although I don’t think the Leaf is a particularly sporty car.

      The comparison with French cars is probably apt, and something I hadn’t thought of. I’d also say that one of the things that helps its styling is that it is not overdone at all. You don’t have a lot of crazy lines going all over the place like you do with so many modern cars.

  • avatar

    “around a dollar below what it was at this time in 2014 — consumers are turning towards trucks and SUVs”

    How short memories we have. It was only a few days before New Year 2015 and I was filling up near Chico, CA when a TV crew came and asked how i was coping with the high gas prices. When I said “doesn’t bother me much, still cheaper per gallon than Starbucks coffee” they quickly ran to the next pump where the old lady had a sob story about not being able to see her grand-kids as much.

    There’s no way on Earth it will go back up to those price points in the 5 year loan period of a new SUV is there.

    • 0 avatar

      There are no inefficient vehicles even made any longer, unless we’re talking 3/4+ trucks which are rightfully lackluster in the mileage department. The argument that people are short-sighted is ironic, because it in itself ignores the fact that said argument is an outdated and inaccurate spin.
      When your average crossover is doing the same as a similar sized car did a decade ago, there’s truly nothing to complain about, it certainly isn’t significantly more expensive for anyone willing to dole out the cost of a new vehicle.

  • avatar

    Draw your own conclusions…

    05/12/15 ORLANDO Lease $8,900 8,122 Above RED EL A Yes
    05/21/15 MISS Lease $8,300 10,709 Avg BLUE EL A Yes
    06/02/15 ORLANDO Lease $9,500 11,064 Above WHITE EL A Yes
    05/19/15 ORLANDO Lease $7,800 25,915 Avg WHITE EL A Yes

    06/02/15 ORLANDO Lease $9,000 8,128 Avg RED ALER 4G O Yes
    06/02/15 GEORGIA Lease $10,300 16,043 Above WHITE 4G A Yes
    05/29/15 ATLANTA Regular $10,700 17,368 Above WHITE 4G A Yes
    05/26/15 ORLANDO Lease $10,000 17,673 Above BLACK 4G O Yes
    06/03/15 ORLANDO Lease $10,100 17,911 Above BLUE 4G A Yes
    05/28/15 PALM BCH Lease $10,000 18,309 Above FRESH PO 4G A Yes
    06/03/15 ORLANDO Lease $10,200 19,871 Above GRAY 4G A Yes
    05/27/15 NASHVILL Lease $7,800 21,669 Avg MAGNETIC 4G A Yes
    05/28/15 PALM BCH Lease $10,400 22,534 Above FRESH PO 4G O Yes
    06/03/15 ORLANDO Lease $9,200 24,571 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes

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