A year ago, it seemed like every major outlet was eagerly awaiting the final sales tally for two of the most-watched new cars in the industry, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. This year, the sales numbers are barely a blip on the radar on many blogs and news sites.. But something very important happened in 2012, as consumers overwhelmingly chose the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt to the pure electric Nissan Leaf.
In 2012, sales of the Chevy Volt more than tripled 2011 sales, with 23,461 Volts sold or leased in the past year. In 2011, GM sold just 7,671, well short of their initial goals, which were anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 cars depending on who you asked and when.
Meanwhile, sales of the Nissan Leaf EV were stagnant. 2012 sales in the U.S. amounted to just 9,819 units, not much more than the 9,674 sold in 2011. No wonder Nissan’s executives are publicly expressing disappointment and frustration with the low sales. Worldwide sales of the Leaf haven’t been released yet, but we doubt it is anything to write home about.
What does this mean for electric cars? While not a total failure, Nissan’s big bet on pure EVs doesn’t appear to be paying off. Meanwhile though, Chevy Volt sales are gaining steam, and other automakers are keen to play catch-up with plug-in hybrids of their own. Both Nissan and Chevy has offered aggressive lease deals to get consumers in the door, the Volt is pulling way ahead, at least in the American market.
Can electric cars make a comeback?
Source: GM | Nissan