LEAF sales continue strong
Nissan has just announced record June sales for the company, led by the Altima family sedan – typically the best selling segment for all automakers.
Of more interest to Living LEAF readers is how the LEAF is doing. Sales were up 213 percent over June of 2012, from 535 last year to 2,225 this year. Year to date LEAF sales total 9,839 thus far. This sales pace puts Nissan on target to achieve their stated goal of selling 20,000 LEAFs in one year. In May, Nissan sold 2,138 LEAFs. LEAF sales have been hovering around the 2,000 unit number since March with the advent of the Tennessee built LEAFs hitting the market.
Nissan now has a tough call to make – do they want to go for volume or do they want to minimize losses? As a corporation, Nissan is not making a profit on the LEAF yet. With $5 billion invested globally, it’s going to take awhile. That said, with every LEAF S sold it costs them incrementally more than if they move an SV or SL model. Looking at the big picture, someone (one would hope) has to realize that with the commitment to the electric vehicle (EV) made to date, a few thousand more S trim levels aren’t going to break the bank. What Nissan needs to do is ramp up production of the S trim level, get as many of them out the door as possible, and maintain their $199 per month, 36-month lease deal on this model for the foreseeable future. Why? As a reference, Honda moved 208 Fit EVs in June. Yes… yes… it’s not a fair comparison because the Honda is only available as a lease, and limited to five states blah, blah, blah. Originally the LEAF was only available in select markets and had very low sales volume too. If Nissan wants to maintain the early advantage that they created, they need to get as many LEAFs into the hands of as many users (retail and corporate fleet) as possible. If it takes producing the S trim level in greater quantity to make that happen, that is what they need to do.