Last month GM managed to move 1,108 Chevy Volts to Nissan’s 849 Leafs, outpacing the Japanese EV for the first time since sales began last December. The Leaf has consistently led the Volt in sales, leading many sales and poltical pundits to already call the Volt a flop and a failure.
What many of them failed to take into account was that GM was shipping many Volt’s to dealers that could not sell them for six months. These demo cars are serving to draw in new customers into Chevy dealerships, and many Volt buyers are trading in cars like the Toyota Prius. I also wonder if the $1,000 price cut helped draw in any additional customers as well.
More importantly though, the Chevy Volt is on sale in every corner of the country, rather than a select few states. The nationwide rollout of the Volt began in June, but the factory was offline for three weeks in July for retooling, and then a number of Volts went out as dealer demos. So it seems as though Volt sales are finally catching up to where GM wants them to be.
This ought to provide a huge boost to sales versus the Nissan Leaf, which is still on available in a limited number of areas. Nissan is also transitioning from 2011 to 2012 models of the Leaf which, in addition to a price bump, gets a new standard Level 3 charger and Cold Weather package.
Who Will Win The EV War?
However, the real test comes when both the Volt and Leaf are available nationwide. The Volt seems to be picking up steam, but Leaf sales, despite being limited for a select few areas, are still well ahead of GM’s plug-in hybrid. To date, GM has sold just over 5,000 Volts to Nissan’s 8,048 Leafs in 2011. So it seems unlikely that either automaker will meet their estimated first-year sales totals.
On the same token, even I am surprised by the recent sales surge from both vehicles. 2012 is already shaping up to be a promising year for plug-in vehicles, and there will be even more contenders by this time next year.
Has the Volt finally come into its own? Who will finish ahead in 2011? And what does 2012 hold for these two plug-in pioneers?