COO “Disappointed And Frustrated” At Slow Nissan Leaf Sales

It is no secret that sales of the pure-electric Nissan Leaf haven’t been exactly earth-shattering. After an initial rush of enthusiasm, sales of the Nissan Leaf have tapered off substantially. This has left Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga feeling “disappointed and frustrated” with Leaf sales.

Who can blame him? Nissan has reportedly sank over a billion dollars into developing and marketing the Nissan Leaf. Yet since hitting the international market in the last month of 2010, Nissan has sold just 42,700 units, almost half of those (about 19,000) in Japan. In the U.S. Leaf sales have topped 16,000, while Europe has seen just over 6,500 units delivered.

Sales are far off from initial projections. Nissan had expected to sell 40,000 Leaf EVs in 2012, but instead they have barely broached that number in two full years on the market. That has got to hurt, especially considering that Nissan has built a brand new factory in Tennessee with the capacity to build 150,000 Leaf EVs annually.

Speaking to a crowd gathered to hear Nissan’s mid-term sales reports, Shiga said;

“Somewhere in the history of mankind, people will have to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and Nissan is assuming the risk to do it now. We were the first volume maker deploy EVs globally. Please don’t forget that we have this passion and a sense of mission.”

Basically…we tried to do right by mankind, but turns out nobody wants to buy our innovative EV. All hope isn’t lost, as a 2013 Leaf is expected to be unveiled next month. With more range and a potentially lower price for entry, coupled with a new $199 a month lease, Nissan Leaf sales could rebound big time in 2013. If President Obama turns the $7,500 EV tax credit into a $10,000 on-the-spot rebate, EV sales could soar. Nissan even has a special task force dedicated to figuring out why Leaf sales aren’t living up to expectations.

But will it come in time to save the Nissan Leaf? While I think it is a little early to be writing off electric vehicles, it seems as though the market isn’t ready to start driving EVs on the scale Nissan imagined.

Source: The Truth About Cars

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.