One huge question mark one year ago was the future value of a Nissan LEAF. One year after its launch, we can take a look.
First, it should be noted that this is not a scientific study. We are looking at various online sources to determine asking prices, not necessarily selling prices, of used 2011 Nissan LEAFs. We restricted our search to 2011 LEAFs. For our study we chose three online sources: AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, and eBay.com. We limited our search to used vehicles on each site, and selected “any distance” from our zip code on all three sites to provide the broadest possible geographical area. This is a search that anyone looking for any used car might use on any of these sites. First the results from AutoTrader.com.
AutoTrader.com returned 19 used Nissan LEAFs any distance from San Diego. 18 vehicles listed asking prices and the price was unlisted on one. The highest asking price was $44,995 (clearly the dealer is ingesting questionable substances), the lowest asking price was $27,999, with the average being $32,928. Of the 19 listed vehicles, five are offered by private sellers and 14 are offered by dealers. The five private sellers asking prices range from $29,900 to $33,000. All of the private sellers are selling SL models. One of the private sellers is a company in Michigan which likely acquired the LEAF for analysis by a Detroit manufacturer. LEAF is not yet offered in Michigan by Nissan. The private seller cars varied in mileage from 98 to 3,338. One interesting feature of Auto Trader is that one can see the number of views of any particular ad. The five private party LEAFs had been viewed a low of 27 times for a new listing to a high of 882 times. Clearly, there is interest in at least looking at these cars online.
Cars.com returned 8 vehicles, all offered by dealers. All of these cars except one were represented on AutoTrader.com. Clearly, for those looking for a used car, AutoTrader seems to be the better source.
Finally, we get to eBay.com. There was only one 2011 LEAF SL being auctioned. As we write this, the current bid was $20,100 which did not meet the unknown reserve price, set by the seller (a dealer). As it happens, this vehicle is also offered on AutoTrader.com. One feature that we like on eBay is the ability to check completed listings, so we did. We found only one completed listing for an SL LEAF. The highest bid received was $26,100 which did not meet the reserve. A quick cross check showed that this was one of the private seller vehicles also being offered on AutoTrader.com for $29,995.
So there you have it – with roughly 20,000 10,000 LEAFs sold in the US over the past year, looking at three of the most used web sites to sell a car it seems that there are only about 20 2011 LEAFs for sale. If local classified ads were included, the number would likely go up, but likely not by a large margin. Most LEAF owners offering their car for sale are likely savvy enough to want to use the internet to reach a broad market. It also seems as if AutoTrader.com is the place to go when shopping for a used car (or trying to sell one).
We’re not going to get into the ramifications to the original owner of selling their car and how that may affect their claim for a tax credit against their federal income tax. What we will mention is that the buyer of a used LEAF receives no such incentive, nor any from the state (if any). Based on this basic search, it would seem that the current value of a used 2011 LEAF SL would be roughly in the mid- to high-$20,000 range. Add the $7,500 federal income tax incentive back in and that puts right around MSRP. We would say that the LEAF is holding its value pretty well so far.