Unless you’ve been sitting in a cave for the past year, you’ll have noticed that sales figures for all-electric, range-extended and plug-in hybrid cars have positively skyrocketed this year, prompted by more public confidence in plug-in car technology, lower prices, and more consumer choice through a wider range of available models.
It’s no surprise then that the Nissan LEAF — Nissan’s first mass-produced electric car — has already broken its 2013 sales record long before the end of 2014, selling more than 22,610 cars in the ten months from January through to September.
Driven by particularly strong sales in the past few months, Nissan LEAF sales from January through September 2014 are up more than 36 percent on the same period in 2013, demonstrating perhaps that the era of plug-in cars might be finally shifting into a higher gear. That’s if electric cars had gears of course, which most of them don’t.
As we’ve previously detailed, strong sales in cities like Atlanta, Georgia have helped LEAF sales figures tremendously in the past year, with Georgia remaining the number one LEAF market in the entire U.S. While Nissan has yet to announce official sales figures for the month of November, it hints that we should expect the upward trend in LEAF sales to continue, despite falling gas prices.
Interestingly, Nissan notes that when it comes to LEAF customers, there’s a clear effect of owner-evangelism: LEAF owners who are so happy with their ownership experiences that they eagerly share their experiences and enthusiasm with friends, family and neighbours. It’s a well-known phenomenon across many different industries and products, and one which Nissan has taken to calling the ‘cul-de-sac’ effect.
“Nissan LEAF owners are eager to share their enthusiasm with neighbors, friends and family, and that passion makes them some of the best salespeople,” said Brendan Jones, direct or Nissan electric vehicle Sales and Infrastructure in the U.S. “We’ve seen a ‘cul-de-sac’ effect where the first LEAF owner in the neighbourhood becomes the community champion for electric cars, educating neighbors on the benefits of going electric, even sometimes handing the keys over for a test drive.”
Since the car’s launch back in December 2010, Nissan says more than 64,000 Nissan LEAFs have been sold in the U.S., accounting for around 45 percent of all LEAFs sold in the world. What’s more, LEAF sales figures have exhibited year-on-year increases in sales for nineteen months straight.
With two more months left in the year, the total number of LEAFs that will be sold in 2014 remains something of a mystery. But if recent trends continue of Nissan selling between 2,000 and 3,000 LEAFs for the remaining three unaccounted for months of 2014, we could easily see LEAF sales totals for the year top 30,000.
But with the next-generation LEAF due some time in 2016 as a 2017 model year car with a likely model unveil early in 2016, we’ve got one question: will 2015 be as strong a year for Nissan’s all-electric hatchback, or will sales slump as would-be owners wait for the rumored, longer-range, more affordable LEAF 2.0?
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