Print 24 comment(s) - last by UrQuan3.. on Oct 5 at 3:16 PM

Nissan is cutting the sale price and lease prices in the U.S.

Nissan's Leaf is withering in terms of sales, and the automaker is looking to fix that through discounts and cheaper lease options. 
Nissan's Leaf sales have taken a serious dip this year, having only sold 4,228 for the year through August in the United States. The automaker sold 10,000 Leafs last year and had hoped to double that number this year. 
How does Nissan plan to fix this? For starters, it took $3,250 off the price tag of each 2012 Leaf model starting in August. This is a considerable jump from the $850 discounts it was giving back in January. The 2012 Leaf starts at $36,050. 
In addition, Nissan is reducing lease costs of the 2012 Leaf from $249 per month to $219 per month with $2,999 down for 32 months. 

Nissan's U.S. Leaf sales were affected by sending vehicles to all 50 states, thus having to reduce the number of Leafs sent to California. The problem here is that California is the largest buyer of the Leaf. Right now, dealerships are experiencing an excess of Leafs, having a 114-day supply. Automakers usually only want a 60-day supply at dealerships. 
The Leaf also had battery troubles this year, where EVs in Arizona experienced a shorter battery life due to the heat. However, Nissan said that these vehicles had thousands of miles on them and that the battery capacity loss was "normal" for that amount of drive time. 
"The sales overall have not met our expectations, but we're working hard to keep pushing," said David Reuter, a Nissan spokesman. 
The discounts only apply to 2012 models. The 2013 Nissan Leaf won't be released until early next year. 

Source: The Washington Post

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By Samus on 10/3/2012 2:35:04 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously people aren't going to buy this $36,000 EV when a Volt costs $4,000 more and a Model S costs $14,000 more, both offering significantly more wiggle room with range and features.

Then you have the plethora of Hybrids to contend with that start at almost half the price of the Leaf.

RE: Duh.
By geddarkstorm on 10/3/2012 2:45:08 AM , Rating: 5
It's facts like that that lead me to misread the title as "Euthanasia" instead of "Enthusiasm".

RE: Duh.
By Jedi2155 on 10/3/2012 6:04:45 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that 2012 Model costs $4000 more than the 2011 version....

Just price it back at $32k to start with and then you'll be fine Nissan.

RE: Duh.
By mdogs444 on 10/3/2012 6:35:03 AM , Rating: 2
The reason that people aren't buying this car has nothing to do with the comparisons to the Volt or Model S. People aren't buying it (as well as the Volt and Model S) because for those who cannot afford $4 gas and need a gas saver, spending $30-50k on a car is not realistic.

The Versa, Cruze, and other small cars are crushing them in numbers sold for a reason...they are CHEAPER.

RE: Duh.
By Dr of crap on 10/3/2012 8:30:21 AM , Rating: 1
I know I've stated this fact many times, yet no one gets it. Maybe, since you've stated it very well, some will understand now. Early adopters with money will buy, but the masses will not.

It's been reported that the average salary of a Volt buyer is $175,000.

Then there's the fact that's pointed out that if you pay higher up front costs, over the life of the car you'll save money. Yet again, those that can't afford $4 gas very well, don't have the up front money to "save" by buying one of these!

RE: Duh.
By Apone on 10/3/2012 12:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
Besides trying to appear trendy, tree-hugging, and early adopting, it's like a catch-22; If you make $100-$175k per year, why would you need to squeeze MPG's by getting a Volt?

RE: Duh.
By Spuke on 10/3/2012 1:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
why would you need to squeeze MPG's by getting a Volt?
And I'll say this again because no one seems to get this but having money does not equal spending it foolishly. People have money because they DON'T spend it foolishly. See Millionaire Next Door not Keeping up with the Kardashians.

RE: Duh.
By Ringold on 10/3/2012 5:27:59 PM , Rating: 2
While generally I agree 100% with that, in this case I got a feeling they're not buying these things to save money. I suspect its a fashion statement, or a pledge of support for the technology.

If one wants to crunch the numbers and get from A to B in the most cost-effective way possible I'm not sure a Volt, or perhaps any brand-new car, would cut it.

Then that reminds me about how often people trade cars, rapidly depreciating assets.

Most millionaires in the US are in fact self-made, and they didn't get there by being drunken sailors, but got a feeling these are fashion statements.

RE: Duh.
By Spuke on 10/3/2012 7:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect its a fashion statement, or a pledge of support for the technology.
I would agree with your statements, I just disagree that having money means spending it unwisely.

RE: Duh.
By Focher on 10/3/2012 11:51:31 AM , Rating: 2
People are buying both the Volt and the Model S. In the case of the Model S, they will continue to be backordered as Tesla ramps up production but with 15k cars already ordered with a significant deposit, it's not accurate to say they aren't selling.

And the Volt is selling almost exactly at the same rate in its life as the Prius during the same period, with increased sales almost every month.

While there are still a lot of people who are sitting on the fence or don't find certain cars to meet their needs or desires, suggesting that these kinds of cars are not in demand or are here to stay is proving itself to be a silly claim.

RE: Duh.
By mdogs444 on 10/3/2012 9:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. 90% of the Volts sold were to the US Government and GE through government contracts. Normal citizens are NOT buying them.

The model S is not selling either. They've only made 50 of them. lol

RE: Duh.
By mcnabney on 10/4/2012 10:17:27 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is the pricing.

A Leaf is a $15k car minus a $5k engine/fuel/exhaust system plus a $25k battery+motor system. They are charging way too much money, likely requiring the higher price to offset the technology development. They should be sold for manufacturing cost + reasonable profit.

They are charging $18k for that battery pack - far too much. Perhaps they should shift the model to purchasing the vehicle, but leasing a battery pack? That way the battery will always be under warranty and replaced as the lease expires.

It is kind of early for EV only vehicles still
By Milliamp on 10/3/2012 1:01:27 AM , Rating: 1
If hybrids aren't green enough for you it seems like plug in hybrid is the next step that makes sense. The plug in hybrid Prius is $4k cheaper than the leaf.

I suspect the main reason Nissan went to EV and not hybrid or some version of it is because they don't want to license technology from Toyota to do it. Thankfully the Prius is 15 years old so maybe some of the key patents are set to expire soon and we'll see some more progress from others.

If their hybrid patents get renewed it is going to throw a stick in the spokes of a lot of companies trying to make more efficient vehicles with a late start.

RE: It is kind of early for EV only vehicles still
By Ringold on 10/3/2012 1:16:34 AM , Rating: 2
Honda doesn't license from Toyota, nor is the Volts. I think there's other ways of skinning this particular cat for patents not to be a show-stopper.

I think it's more like different automakers throwing a variety of garbage at the consumer wall and seeing what sticks, in order to guide their future development, hopefully when costs aren't so high.

RE: It is kind of early for EV only vehicles still
By Milliamp on 10/3/2012 2:02:26 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure about Honda but the Chevy volt is not a hybrid and GM doesn't have many hybrid cars in their product line. Ford independently built their hybrid system in 2004 but they license 21 patents from Toyota to use it. As of 2012 Chrysler has no hybrids on the market but they are planning a hybrid 300 for 2013.

There is also more to hybrid than just being able to add the badge to the car, if you do a "clean room" hybrid system today it would be hard not to step on several currently valid patents. If you design around them there is almost certainly higher costs or efficiency losses associated with doing so.

The fact is that many significant technologies are likely still under patent for at least the next few years.

By FITCamaro on 10/3/2012 7:34:00 AM , Rating: 2
In what sense of the word hybrid is the Chevy Volt not one?

By FITCamaro on 10/3/2012 7:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe Cylon?

Nissan Leaf
By Richard875yh5 on 10/3/2012 9:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
I have to say what I predicted years ago when the Leaf first came out, has turned out to be true, and I don't get paid the wages of a CEO, LOL. I predicted that once the group of customers who like the idea of an all electric car got saturated, sales would plummet, and it has. Also, having experience in the field of batteries as an EE, I felt the battery must be temperature controlled or it would fail prematurely. Well, those two criteria were not met, and the Leaf batteries are failing prematurely.
It's to show these high price CEO's are in fact not that smart.

RE: Nissan Leaf
By lagomorpha on 10/3/2012 1:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
It's to show these high price CEO's are in fact not that smart.

Who said they were? What they are is well connected.

Love my Leaf!
By Batty on 10/3/2012 7:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
As a Leaf owner, I can testify to several reasons for driving one:

1) In California, it's one of the few vehicles that qualifies for the HOV lane with a single person in the car, this saves me up to 15 minutes each day on my inbound commute to San Francisco. This also saves $3.50 per trip due to HOV toll discounts, or $70 a month.

2) Federal and state subsidies reduce the cost by $10,000, making it pricey but not outrageous for a new car with a lot of features.

3) It directly produces no emissions, and if charged with electricity from clean sources, which I believe is the case for me in California, its overall pollution impact is less than a gasoline car.

4) I've spent a total of $30 so far on maintenance in 9 months, it just doesn't need much service.

5) It's surprisingly fun to drive with quite a bit of pep from a stoplight.

6) It's a step towards the goal of energy independence, electricity is produced entirely within the United States, so my money isn't directly or indirectly supporting foreign governments who do not share my values or interests.

RE: Love my Leaf!
By UrQuan3 on 10/5/2012 3:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
First off, in the midst of the standard ev/anti-ev flamewars, thanks for the real world review.

Because of one of your comments, I decided to check and see how clean CA power really is. I found it at:

Looks like CA produces 70% of their own power and buys 30% from other states. Of the 70%, 60% is natural gas, 19% is hydro, 7% wind, 6% neculear, 2% geothermal, 1% solar, and the rest is small change. Looks pretty clean overall.

On the other hand, natural gas is a rather expensive fuel. Relying so heavily on that, as well as buying 30% from other states does explain why electricity in California costs about four times what it does where I live.

By AMDftw on 10/3/2012 7:56:00 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I still will keep my reliable 98 Chevy pick-up, 90 Nissan 240sx and my Wifes 04 Nissan X-Terra. I will be replacing the Chevy and X-terra for a Lancer Evolution/STI(used<--Wifes car sad face) and Ford F150 with eco-boost (Used)

Nice Job....
By Apone on 10/3/2012 12:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
there Nissan, instead of fixing the root of the problem which is your ill-designed battery cooling system, you're simply going to cut the price of your Leaf and allow it to continue to potentially strand your customers? Wow!

Pricing issues
By CaedenV on 10/3/2012 2:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
$36,000 for a base model Leaf
$20,000 for a high-end gas powered hatchback with much better features and feel

Seriously, even at $5/gal (God forbid we see that any time soon), and comparable hatchbacks getting some 30+mpg now the price difference would still be 96,000 miles on gas before you hit a break-even point for the purchase price, and considering you still have to pay for the electricity to put in the car, the real break-even point is much much higher than that.

The issue is not so much in the cost of the car as much as the audience that it is attempting to cater to. This car looks like something for a teenager to drive as a first vehicle; It does not look like the kind of car that respectable adults would enjoy driving to and from the work place, or out and about on errands. If they were to make the body less teen-friendly and made the interior more posh and quiet then they could stand a chance as selling more of these at this price. But kids don't have money, and won't be buying one of these even if they did have that kind of cash to burn.

I think that Tesla has it right: Make EVs drop-dead-gorgeous and rightfully expensive so that people WANT to buy the car. As battery tech prices drop with mass production then start offering cheaper stripped down models that people like myself could afford. I would love to have an EV, but renewable energy should make vehicles LESS expensive, not MORE expensive for a similarly spec'd product, especially considering the inconvenience of current models in the way of top speeds and range.

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