July sales slow for LEAF and Volt
Yes, we know that this is old news. But we’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now. It seems that there is more to the slowdown than lack of supply, as is generally credited in much that we read. “Nissan is recovering from the natural disasters of their country”. “Chevy is retooling the Volt production capability”. Yeah… yeah… yeah…
The fact of the matter is that we are finding that more LEAFs are being left orphaned at the door, for whatever the reason. Where initially these vehicles were flying off of the showroom floor (sometimes with large dollar signs attached), such is no longer the case. While homes are being found for these cars, they are simply not moving at the rate they were before. But… they are still moving out the door. And while it may be taking a bit longer to sell these orphans, they likely are moving much more quickly than some other vehicles on the lot. It is all relative.
Also, just an observation, we are seeing a vast increase in the number of LEAFs in our neighborhood. We see several a week while driving around town running our errands. For instance, just the other day as we pulled into the Costco parking lot, we were the third LEAF in the lot at the time. That said, we have yet to see our first Volt in the wild in our neighborhood.
While we are not particular fans of the Volt for various reasons, we would really prefer to see more of them (as in any) driving around town. The fact that we are not seeing them leads us to believe that people are not buying them. If people are not buying them (while they are truly plug-in hybrids, and not electric cars as Chevrolet would have us believe), that is not good for the current state of the electric car business. Many people likely do buy into the idea that the Volt is an electric car, therefore if they do not see them on the road, perhaps their thinking might be that there is no need for them, which is why people aren’t buying them. Our thinking has always been that the Volt was on the expensive side. Perhaps what we are seeing currently is that the early adopters are aware of the price reduction on the 2012 Volt (for which orders are already being taken with an MSRP $1005 less than the 2011 model), so those 2011 Volts are languishing on the lot unless the dealer is willing to mark it down to move some metal. We’ll just have to watch the sales rates as we move toward the end of the year.