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And the numbers are in. For December, the Chevrolet Volt sold 1,529. units, putting the plug-in car's 2011 total at 7,671. While that overall number fell well short of the announced target of 10,000-12,000, December 2011 was the Volt's best sales month ever and the positive trend positions the car in a good place going into 2012.

The other mainstream plug-in vehicle that was available all year, the Nissan Leaf, also ended the year with an up month, selling 954 units and a grand total of 9,674 for the year. This is just 326 sales under the company's 10,000-unit target for 2011.

We'll have a more complete listing of how the green car market fared up soon. For now, how do these numbers strike you? Is it a failure to have not hit the goals set out at the beginning of the year? Or do you see the upward swing in the sales of both numbers as a positive enough result that you can see 2012 becoming the true Year of the Plug-In Car?


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  • 61 Comments
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      They both had a decent start. But they both need to work hard to get the costs down. Those tax-credits won't be around forever and the cars are still very expensive.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        meh. Brand new technology. It should happen... Look at the Prius C...
      garylai
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nissan fell below its 10,000 US target by only 3.3%. Worldwide, the Leaf has exceeded 21,000 sales. That's very respectable, especially given the tsunami's impact on production and the limited markets it was available in during much of 2011. The Volt fell 23.3% below it's sale target, but it has some serious momentum going and is now selling at a rate close to 20,000 per year. I say these are both very respectable finishes for the first full year of EV car sales. Let's wind back the clock and look at the Toyota Prius' worldwide sales in the first years of production (source: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/08/worldwide-toyota-prius-sales-crack-2-million-mark-10-year-annive/): 1997: 300 1998: 17,700 1999: 15,200 2000: 19,000 2001: 29,500 So the first full year of Nissan Leaf's sales was better than the third full year of Toyota Prius sales. And the Chevy Volt is now selling at the pace in the US that the Prius was in its fourth full year of production. Of course the haters will still criticize these numbers, but GM and Nissan have nothing to be ashamed of.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @garylai
        it's not quite true that they have nothing to be ashamed of. they have quite a bit. but those who think this represents a failure for electric cars are wrong.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @garylai
        Best comment of the thread.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too funny. "bestest month evah", then every Volt gets recalled to fix a deadly problem. Hilarious. But hey, when you blow up in a Volt, you'll die happy; not like when you blow up in a Pinto.
      krona2k
      • 3 Years Ago
      Both good results, looks like the plug in era has really started now.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well done Leaf and Volt and all the other EV type technology manufacturers! 2012, promises to be a great year for EV progress and development.
      nitrostreet
      • 3 Years Ago
      Reading some of the Volt sales stories from ABG and other sites around the internet it's like; if this was any other car than the Volt the headline would be: "Car XXX sales up 369% from last year, up 34% over last month" But of course it's the Chevy Volt so the headlines all read: "Chevy Volt misses first-year sales target" and: "The Chevrolet Volt has fallen considerably short of General Motors' lofty sales projections" and: "Nissan Leaf still wins 2011 plug-in sales contest" They're both doin' great, let's just hope the politics don't kill em prematurely
      Aman Shah
      • 3 Years Ago
      If u really want to see innovation and not only the attractive advertisement and brouchures of Electroc,head on to Tesla motors and have a look at their latest car,the "model S". http://www.teslamotors.com/models Model S represents the future,it involves so many real inventions - THE 21ST CENTURY POWERTRAIN Tesla’s advanced electric powertrain delivers exhilarating performance. Unlike the internal combustion engine with hundreds of moving pieces that spark, pump, belch, and groan, the Tesla motor has only one moving piece: the rotor. As a result, Model S acceleration is instantaneous, like flipping a switch. Hit the accelerator. In 5.6 seconds, Model S is traveling 60 miles per hour, without hesitation and without a drop of gasoline. Zero tail pipe emissions,125Mph,300 miles Range on fully electric battery power train!!Quick charging time,Tesla also offers an optional faster power charging plug in system!Isn't it sound closer to future.In future,Tesla might also increase the range upto 400 miles and invent newer lower cost battery technology.Tesla Model s comes with no compromise on space and Usury too! It is the iPhone of the Automobile industry!
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aman Shah
        Stop spamming, and "usury" doesn't mean what you think it does.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @skierpage
          Being overly-enthusiastic and having typos is not the same as "spamming". Aman, we're already aware of Tesla Motor's prowess and are looking forward to seeing the Model S on the road. Most of us are dreaming of owning one someday. Thanks for the enthusiasm, but you didn't need to tell us what we already knew.
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's all well and good, but sales predictions based on other vehicles don't always equal sales. I mean, hell, the Aztek sold over 27,000 its first year and look how that turned out. All in all, I think it's way too early to call the Volt/Leaf's success or failure. If anything, they're just inconsequential when you consider just how many vehicles were sold in 2011.
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm going to spin this positively. In 2010 the number of Volts + Leaves sold was 345. In 2011 there were 17,345 Leaves and Volts sold. That’s a 5027% increase in sales! Here are some interesting statistics about Volt fuel usage from 340 Volt owners. http://www.voltstats.net/ The average miles driven in EV mode is 69%. Average MPG in CS mode is 35.The average MPG (not including electricity) is 114. MPGe (includes gasoline and electricity) is 62.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      My local Chevy dealers have volts in stock and ready for sale. I cannot find a leaf for sale though local dealer websites act as though it does not exist. The only electric vehicle I have seen on the road is the Zenn. The only plug-in hybrid I have seen on the road is aftermarket plug-in prius.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Joe is right. If your local dealer website acts as though the Leaf doesn't exist, you might not be in one of these 30 markets where you can now order a Leaf: * Alabama * Arizona * California * Colorado * Connecticut * Delaware * Florida * Georgia * Hawaii * Illinois * Indiana * Louisiana * Massachusetts * Maryland * Mississippi * Nevada * North Carolina * New Hampshire * New Jersey * New York * Ohio * Oregon * Pennsylvania * Rhode Island * South Carolina * Tennessee * Texas * Virginia * Washington * Washington, DC
          lne937s
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          And most of those markets just opened up to orders, so deliveries to dealers in many places are still a little ways off.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Where are you? What state? That is kinda important. Both the Volt and the Leaf have yet to be released in all 50 states. And the Leaf markets aren't the same as the Volt launch markets.
        garylai
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Paulwesterberg - Where I live (Seattle), I see them all the time, in all different places. They are becoming quite common. I might be seeing the same ones over and over again, but I don't think so since quite a few of them I've seen recently don't even have plates yet. I have a 40-mile round trip commute on highway in my Leaf, and on average I see 3 Leafs on the highway every day. We always waive to each other. I am looking forward to the day when we will stop waving because we won't be oddballs. My local Nissan dealer is selling every Leaf they are apportioned before it is even delivered.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @garylai
          @garylai Shhhhh.....we are doing quite nicely out of Nissan driving the same Leaf round and round, :)
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think I have a completely different perspective than most folks, because instead of just looking at 1 month increments of time, I come at this from a long-term vision. I look back to the mid-2000's when gm-volt.com was just starting, and the topic of debate every day on ABG was whether or not the Volt (and tons of other EV's) was "vaporware" that would never go on sale. Well, 2011 was a MASSIVE SUCCESS from my perspective. These sales figures mean I can look back to all the EV haters who trolled ABG and gm-volt.com and threw around the "vaporware" term on every other post. I dedicate this next statement to them: SUK ON DIS' BITZCHEZ!! The "EV's are vaporware" bullsh!t rhetoric has once and for all been stomped out of existence. We win, you lost. Let me add to that: "I told you so" and "ha ha haha HA!!!" For the most part, these "vaporware" trolls have already slunked away and hidden over the last year, so not many were brave enough to stick around to read this. But in their place a new breed of trolls have replaced the vaporware trolls. Now it is the trolls that claimed Chevy wouldn't ever sell more than 6,000 Volts, so we're subsidizing failure (already proven wrong in just one month of additional sales) and the trolls that pretend EV's will never get better or cheaper. Let me pre-post my future response to these trolls, to be read AFTER 2012 EV sales explode faster than any new market segment in the history of the automobile: (Do Not Open Before Christmas 2012) SUK ON DAT BITZCHEZ!! 2012 blew the doors wide open on the EV market! All your whining was wrong! Now, you trolls all followed instructions and didn't read this until the end of 2012, right? *evil grin*
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        i hate to ruin your evening, but good stuff. The long term view is exactly it. None of these cars are perfect, but 100pg - 1000mpg in a volt? Whodathunk it? Viable electric cars? Choices from GM, Ford, Nissan, as well as start ups like Tesla and Fisker? O Brave New World! Even if the volt sold 1/2 the numbers, I would still yell out, 'calm the eff down.' these cars are the FIRST major change in design in 100 years! Being applied to larger vehicles is netting 50mpg (that Volvo). Your prediction on the sales made me think...the average age of the car in the USA is older than at any point in history (roughly 10 years old). As such, car sales are bound to go up. The Prius C should be a hit due to price, and soon Ford will have the C-Max, Energi, and a new Fusion Hybrid. With the focus (over priced that it is) EV, they will have an entire line of cars. And...of Toyota gets that solid state battery working....
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Yea, US cars are actually up to something like 11.2 years old on average now. There also have been fewer new car sales since 2008 than used cars being junked over the same time period, so there are fewer total cars on the road now than in 2008. These numbers are driving up new car purchases. Next year is supposed to be even better than this year across the entire automotive industry. Pent-up demand should greatly help our economy, because currently our economy is demand-side limited, not supply-side limited.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        At the risk of dredging up old ghosts from the past, I'd like to point out that the Leaf sales figure for just one year would indicate that GM could have sold many more EV1s if they'd just been willing to actually produce and sell. Yes, I know the Leaf is roomier and the EV1 a 2 seater, but the driving range is similar.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      PR, you were right about the sequence and content of ABG's posts.
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