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.