Given a sub $20,000 price tag and a propensity to sip fuel rather than swill it, one might think that an attractive and aggressively marketed midsize car would far outsell a smaller, $35,000 car with a range of just 100 miles, but it hasn’t. Interestingly, the Nissan Leaf outsold the Suzuki Kizashi by 1754 units and perhaps less surprisingly to some, the Chevy Volt. Though that car also outsold quite a few heavy hitters.
Click here for more news on the Nissan LEAF.
What does this say about the US market, which tends to have longer commutes than say Europe and other developed countries? There are other significant cars that the Leaf and the Volt surpassed in sales. But first, how did this happen in today’s economy? For the moment, let’s throw the Leaf and Volt in with the Smart ForTwo, as these are all limited function, high-price cars and compare the past year: Leaf, 7,199; Volt, 3,895; ForTwo, 3,757.
Click here for our review on the Nissan Leaf.
Part of the answer lies in occasional fleet purchases here and there, with one of the largest being the US government’s 116-Leaf grab as part of their Electric Vehicle Pilot Program. Other state agencies such as that of Houston, TX bought only two. GE is looking to purchase a significant number of electric cars, replacing nearly half of their 30,000-car fleet by 2015 and the NYPD picked up 50 Leaves for in-town use.
Fleets are part of the answer at the moment, but they are not the be-all end-all; continuing on the heavy hitter cars, here are a few more. The Leaf outsold the Volvo XC-70, certainly a staple of Volvo’s lineup; the Audi A6 and A3, BMW 1-series, Mazda Miata and Hyundai Veracruz also were slayed by the Leaf. The Leaf and the Volt also knocked out most of Saab’s lineup, the Volvo C30, the Suzuki Grand Vitara and the Hyundai Azera.
Fleets will play a bigger part in the future; it seems that GE will be a key proponent in this realm, eventually scooping up 12,000 Volts and sprinkling some charging infrastructure along with them. The US federal government, depending upon the economy and the next administration and congress may or may not play a big role. Fuel prices probably will not be hitting rock bottom anytime soon and the economy probably will not rebound very quickly if this past month’s market performance is any indication. But like the Obama campaign, there most likely will be much ground to be gained out of small players with one or two big ones like GE thrown in.
– By: Sawyer Sutton