Through the end of September, year-to-date U.S. sales of the electric Nissan Leaf hit 7,199 units and sales of plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt tallied 3,895 units. What vehicles were those 11,000-plus people driving before their new plug-ins?

Recently, Barbara Keys, a R.L. Polk & Co consultant, surveyed buyers of both the Leaf and Volt and discovered that the vehicles are conquest hits. Keys states that through the end of June, 78 percent of Volt buyers didn't own a Chevrolet at the time of purchase. Similarly, nearly 90 percent of Leaf buyers didn't previously own a Nissan vehicle. Keys said that, "These two high-profile launches have been successful in bringing new customers to the brand, and that may have long-term benefits in terms of make loyalty and customer retention." See also: Chevy Cruze sales.

As it turns out, buyers of both the Volt and Leaf are often trading in their Toyota Prius hybrids. For the Volt, seven percent of buyers traded in a Prius. Meanwhile, some 18 percent of Leaf buyers have traded in Toyota's mid-size hybrid. That's positive news for both General Motors and Nissan, but not for Toyota.


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  • 22 Comments
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota's prius is still a very efficient vehicle for long trips. And the new plug in prius could provide enough electric range at 14 miles to pull in a lot of buyers. Even though that electric range is minimal it would provide enough juice for my wife's daily commute. The problem with the plug in prius is that it costs too much. I'm planning on getting a leaf, keeping our prius for long trips and trading in our craptastic fuel guzzling chrysler.
        Ziv
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        There is no doubt that the Prius is an amazing piece of kit. 50 mpg is no easy feat, and the combo of the Prius for long distance and the Leaf for around town will be hard to beat for a lot of people. I still like the idea of having the best of both worlds in the Volt, but to each their own. And I like the Volt looks and drives a bit better as well. What is really cool is that great choices are coming up to complement Volt/Prius/Leaf troika. Have you all seen that Ford is talking about the 2013 FFH getting 47 mpg city? And they will start producing it in January, possibly, of next year? That is amazing, a mid-sized car, fairly sport, decent for work, and it gets 47 mpg in town! Now if Ford would start delivering the FFE we would another BEV to add to the mix...
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          @Ziv 47 for a Midsize... O Brave New World! :) And, if they keep the current pricing (like, $27K?) that is tough to beat in practical terms. Oh hey - any idea how far the new one will go on a full battery?
          Yespage
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          But the financially, the Volt isn't the best of both worlds. Even assuming you don't pay a dime for electricity and never use any gasoline, at $35k after the rebate, you are saving only $883 a year over a avg. 48 mpg non-plug-in Prius, at $4 a gallon and driving 10,000 annually. That means you won't break even, probably ever. At 50 to 60 mpg, until gas really explodes in price, any electric with a significant price premium can't compete. The Leaf does much better, and is an electric with a tether to it, but a sufficiently long tether.
          Ziv
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          Forgot to include the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid link... http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1061474_2013-ford-fusion-hybrid-to-get-47-mpg-city-report
          Harry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          Ford claims that you can go 2 miles at up to 47 mph with a 2012, but in the real world you are lucky to get a mile at up to 35 or so mph. Not sure how the 2013 will compare. The 2013 is getting a 15% boost in city mpg, but I don't know if that will be reflected in a better 'all electric' ability. I was impressed with the FFH/MKZ, it is very smooth, reasonably well appointed and the all electric driving is like a video game. After a while you don't notice maximizing your AER due to the way the display coaches you. http://www.hybridcars.com/vehicle/ford-fusion-hybrid.html
      EV Now
      • 3 Years Ago
      Poor headline. 7% of tradeins being Prius for Volt is hardly worthy of news. Even the 17% for Leaf. Various headlines (and talk by GM execs) makes it feel as if a majority of people are trading in Prius. For the record, I was driving a Nissan Maxima before buying Leaf.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EV Now
        No sh*t. I would have guessed a far higher percentage. This just in - Drivers Trading in Their Leaves for Used Ford Excursions! (now the story) Jethro in South Carolina needed the Excursion to haul 7 employees around his farm while towing the horse trailer. What - one person does not constitute a trend?
        DMason
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EV Now
        Well put, EV Now. Eric Loveday, Your headline is misleading. Based on 7% and 18%, you conclude that "buyers of both the Volt and Leaf are *often* trading in their Toyota Prius hybrids". How dubious!
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am sure that the nissan & chevy dealers are happy to have people trading in a hybrid with good resale value and low availability in the 2nd hand market.
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      So, the number of green drivers is somewhat constant, but they are moving to plug-ins. Hopefully, this will convince Toyota to add a bigger battery to the 2012 Prius so they can retain their customer base. Toyota could have done this before, but I guess they wanted to recoup their Prius investment. Too bad.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just because it's a green vehicle, doesn't mean it has to look...shall we say "unique"? That's where Toyota made the mistake. Sure, the Prius has a very highly efficient system but its distinctive design is off-putting to some. Juan Miguel Ruiz (Going Green)
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        Uhhh, it looks the way it looks to improve the gas mileage. As the gas mileage is the selling point of the vehicle, yes, it does have to look as you say unique.
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Older cars "die off naturally" from rust and the high costs of keeping a very old vehicle running as someone recently told me, when we were discussing the attrition of older vehicles and its impact on improving local air quality. When people sell their used Prius, they give rise to a secondary market of very clean efficient and very affordable used vehicles for a much broader market of people *who only buy used cars* and who can justify recycling *scrapping* their old inefficient clunker for something new and nifty like a used and proven very durable reliable Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Insight ect. Yes, bicycles are superior to electric vehicles: vehicles are intrinsically energy intensive because of their size and manufacturing complexity. New vehicles have to have wildly complex safety systems, fuel injection systems, variable valve time and emissions control systems. These systems all increase the manufacturing cost and energy footprint of production. You cant compare a bicycle to a car for commuting directly anyway. The car is much safer and can transport more than 3 people in most cases, along with a lot of cargo (groceries, whatever else, including a bicycle, that someone may want to take with them on their longer commute). I am all for Bicycles: I dive a hybrid, and avoid driving it by using the bus and my bicycle, and I even recently ordered a soon to be delivered electric folding mountain bike from Prodeco: I love EV technology and think Hybrids are awesome (practical, fiscally reasonable, efficient)! Future EV's will be awesome too. The Tesla Model S is the coolest car I have ever heard of for example! Getting older vehicles off the road is really just a matter of taxing fuels fairly. They should have a health care tax since their use causes sickness and suffering (breathing smog and vehicle emissions is directly linked to a wide range of costly avoidable diseases). Have you seen the deterioration of our roads, the gasoline needs a road maintenance tax as well. Have you seen what acid rain does to infrastructure? There should be an infrastructure degredation tax applied to gasoline as well. If you were to accurate tax gas using science, then it would retail for much closer to $10/ gal, in which case driving a 20MPG vehicle 12,000 miles a year would use $6000 worth of fuel: making old inefficient dirty vehicles horrendously costly to operate. More people would park and ride, public transportation ridership rates would skyrocket and services would be expanded. Things like inter urban- suburban light rail would make better fiscal sense for the states. Rail in general would be used rather than huge road destroying trucks: we actually stand to benefit a lot by simply increasing the retail price of gas with taxes designed to combat the problems that gasoline causes on human health and the incideous impact that foreign oil is having on our economy. Tolling roads fairly, so that the people who use them pay for them is also key!
      OldSalt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Laughable story. Toyota feels the heat when 273 Prius owners go trade in and buy a Volt and 1295 trade in for a Leaf. That is over almost 10 months and averages 27/mo or 129/mo respectively. This is the kind of story best left to a high school newspaper.
        porosavuporo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @OldSalt
        Exactly. 273 old Priuses traded in total .. how many new ones sold over the same period ?
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      In the overall scheme of things, we need people to trade in old vans and 70's cars for Volts and Leafs. We need to get more efficient buses, trucks, boats, and container vessels if you really want to cut down on pollution. If I traded my bicycle for a solar powered Leaf, it might be a wash...but a pretty small one either way. The next question is, if there is a waiting list, shouldn't we prioritize getting older, and the lower mpg cars off the road first?
        Aaron Schwarz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Older cars "die off naturally" from rust and the high costs of keeping a very old vehicle running as someone recently told me, when we were discussing the attrition of older vehicles and its impact on improving local air quality. When people sell their used Prius, they give rise to a secondary market of very clean efficient and very affordable used vehicles for a much broader market of people *who only buy used cars* and who can justify recycling *scrapping* their old inefficient clunker for something new and nifty like a used and proven very durable reliable Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Insight ect. Yes, bicycles are superior to electric vehicles: vehicles are intrinsically energy intensive because of their size and manufacturing complexity. New vehicles have to have wildly complex safety systems, fuel injection systems, variable valve time and emissions control systems. These systems all increase the manufacturing cost and energy footprint of production. You cant compare a bicycle to a car for commuting directly anyway. The car is much safer and can transport more than 3 people in most cases, along with a lot of cargo (groceries, whatever else, including a bicycle, that someone may want to take with them on their longer commute). I am all for Bicycles: I dive a hybrid, and avoid driving it by using the bus and my bicycle, and I even recently ordered a soon to be delivered electric folding mountain bike from Prodeco: I love EV technology and think Hybrids are awesome (practical, fiscally reasonable, efficient)! Future EV's will be awesome too. The Tesla Model S is the coolest car I have ever heard of for example! Getting older vehicles off the road is really just a matter of taxing fuels fairly. They should have a health care tax since their use causes sickness and suffering (breathing smog and vehicle emissions is directly linked to a wide range of costly avoidable diseases). Have you seen the deterioration of our roads, the gasoline needs a road maintenance tax as well. Have you seen what acid rain does to infrastructure? There should be an infrastructure degredation tax applied to gasoline as well. If you were to accurate tax gas using science, then it would retail for much closer to $10/ gal, in which case driving a 20MPG vehicle 12,000 miles a year would use $6000 worth of fuel: making old inefficient dirty vehicles horrendously costly to operate. More people would park and ride, public transportation ridership rates would skyrocket and services would be expanded. Things like inter urban- suburban light rail would make better fiscal sense for the states. Rail in general would be used rather than huge road destroying trucks: we actually stand to benefit a lot by simply increasing the retail price of gas with taxes designed to combat the problems that gasoline causes on human health and the incideous impact that foreign oil is having on our economy. Tolling roads fairly, so that the people who use them pay for them is also key!
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Aaron Schwarz
          sorry, it posted twice! when the reply was not showing, I made a comment out of my reply, so now its up twice. My bad. Too bad there is no edit feature on autoblog commenting system. Could they partner with engadget to figure that one out!
      Sophia
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/2411209-post11.html
      Robyn
      • 3 Years Ago
      Want to start making some extra incomé every month? You can... For more information, visit following website http://www.LazyCash39.com .....Your extra incomé is just a click away... Don't miss it
      Sophia
      • 3 Years Ago
      The global crusade to civilize buyers of crappy Asian cars continues!
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