Nissan Reports LEAF Sales Are Surging


The Detroit Bureau

After a tough year for electric vehicle proponents and manufacturers, Nissan Motor says its LEAF electric vehicle is seeing the demand outdo the supply.

Find out what Nissan says is behind this 2013 sales surge.

Nissan Leaf sales have taken off since the company cut the price and shifted production to the U.S.

Its been a tough year for electric vehicle proponents and manufacturers. We’ve already seen Coda declare bankruptcy, with Fisker Automotive expected to soon follow suit. And even big brands, with major marketing dollars, like Ford and General Motors, are lagging well behind expectations.

But after shifting production to the U.S. and taking a substantial price cut, sales of the Leaf have suddenly caught fire.

So much so, in fact, that the maker is alerting dealers it may not be able to meet short-term demand while it struggles to ramp up production on the new Nissan Leaf assembly line in Smyrna, Tenn.

“I’m actually very positive toward Leaf sales,” said Jose Munoz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing, Nissan Americas. “(June was the) second-best sales (month) ever. We’ve sold more Leafs in the first six months in 2013 more leafs than in entire 2012 year.

“We’re starting to have dealers demanding more leafs. The days supply is dropping so we really need to consider how we’re going to get more cars out of Smyrna.”

Munoz is hitting on just part of the problem Nissan is facing. The Leaf used to be manufactured in Japan only, but the Smyrna plant began producing the EV this year, but levels still are up to full speed.

Part of the reason for the increase is the price adjustment made to the vehicle in January. Nissan cut the price by $6,000 to just under $29,000. It also began offering a $199 a month lease option.

Sales of Nissan Leaf in June were 2,225 units, up 315.9%. Leaf deliveries in the first half of 2013 are at 9,839 units. In fact, the car surpassed the 25,000-units-sold mark in April, which makes it the best-selling electric vehicle, according to Nissan.