More than 100 Leafs a day flying out of US Nissan dealerships for the rest of the year? Not going to happen.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who in March forecast that the automaker would double Leaf sales in the US in 2012, is finally admitting that his goal won't be met, The Detroit News reports. Ghosn specifically said Nissan's target of about 20,000 units would "not be reached," the publication reported, citing an interview Ghosn conducted with Bloomberg Television.

Last year, Nissan sold 9,679 Leafs domestically, but sales lagged for much of 2012. Demand picked up more recently, as the Leaf boosted October sales by 76 percent from a year earlier to 1,579 units, the second-best Leaf sales month ever. Still, Nissan, which in October unveiled its first global ad campaign, has sold just 6,791 Leafs in the US so far this year. That's 16 percent down from 2011 figures.


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  • 33 Comments
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they added a range extender variant, I'm curious which model would sell better. It would be an interesting test of practicality at a higher price versus EV purity at a lower price.
      dnkdltn
      • 2 Years Ago
      The creepy looking body styles are killing the sales for a lot of automobiles.
        Generic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dnkdltn
        I agree. I never liked the look. Too funky and ugly in my eyes. In general, Nissan's PR is bad too. Not known for the best quality. I had really hoped they could pull off the first mass produced EV for the sake of EV evolution, but the design is just so far strange looking, add to the battery problems (even if it is just a few) and bad PR. Why didn't Nissan just replace the very limited problematic battery packs before the issue even went public?!?!?!
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fix the ugly front end. Figure out how to lower the price back to what was originally promised or lower. Stop selling them to Arizona ( even if it requires some slinky evasive maneuvers to get around liabilities ) ??? Profit!
      Dominick Morin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Humm some people have already a car, they will change after the lease time. I love the leaf but i need to wait 3 years for not lose money.... for my current car.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd like to make a point that no one else seems to be making. I don't think the Leaf is a failure because it's electric. I think the Leaf is a failure because it's really ugly. If Nissan thought that they didn't have to follow the "different'" look ethos of the Prius, I think they would have sold a lot more Leaf's by now. I was number 1 at my dealer and when the car actually came in I said that I just couldn't bring myself to drive something that looked like an alien lizard. It's not the electric component, it's the sexy component.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        The Prius was different, and it's currently the top selling hybrid in the US / world. Wanting to emulate similar success, Nissan and Mitsu both decided that their EVs would have to be different as well.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      The curtains are starting to come back on the Wonderful Wizard of Nissan.........
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Years Ago
      Want more sales, Nissan? Lower the price, add battery thermo management, increase range to 160 miles.
        Ziv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        I think Nissan could turn around the dropping sales trendline by dropping the price on base Leafs by $3,000 and then offering a "Super Leaf" with any form of basic thermal management that they can fit into the existing car plus an extra 7 kWh of pack so that the EPA AER would be just over 100 miles. It still wouldn't be a full utility replacement for an ICE car, but it would widen the spectrum of potential buyers. And I would still discourage buyers in AZ, NV, TX and southern CA from buying them unless they will be garaged on both ends of the daily drive. The Leaf is a great first attempt at building a BEV, it deserves better than what Nissan has done to it. GM over engineered the Volt, Nissan kind of threw the Leaf at the ceiling to see if it would stick. And it didn't. Sorry for the cooking metaphor on a car blog, but it kind of sums up the engineering efforts at Nissan with the Leaf.
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          On the thermal management front, you may well be right. I was thinking that adding an AC vent into the battery pack to augment the small fan that is already in there might be sufficient to make a difference when the pack temperature gets really high, but it would be expensive and it would be an energy hog. But if it allowed Leafs to live longer in markets like Florida it might be worth it, if it can be fit in without bumping the price up too much. On adding kWh to the Leaf, I wonder what the marginal cost is of adding 30% more kWh to the pack. If there is room for the additional cells, which is problematic, or more likely, if Nissan changes to a denser chemistry that is hopefully more robust, would the pack necessarily cost 30% more? I don't think it would. Nissan has been working on batteries for more than 10 years, I have to imagine that they have other chemistries that they working with that would outperform their current, 3 year old design. GM has already increased their density by 3% (16 to 16.5 kWh). I wonder if Nissan could steal a march on them. Admittedly, 30% is a LOT harder to reach than 3%. I just wish there were more success stories on the EREV/BEV front. I love to see the Volt setting records every month and I would like to see Nissan do the same when the Smyrna plant starts hitting its stride. But it will be hard at the Leaf's present price and AER.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          If we look at the engineering behind the Volt and the Leaf, GM started by holding a big chunk of the Volt pack in reserve as counterweight to prevent deep discharge or overcharge. That 3% was always in the Volt, just allowing 1% higher charge when topping off, and -2% deeper discharge in use. The Leaf appears to have thrown a battery on the car and left the bulk of the management to the user, with minimal protection against discharge, and virtually no protection against overcharge. This gives much higher short-term range at the expense of pack longevity. I don't believe there's an extra 3% in the pack to give, and I'm pretty sure taking 30% probably permanently damages the pack from overcharging and complete discharge. So I think the Leaf would need +30% more pack to get +30% more capacity. And actually, doing it right for long term, Nissan would add +15%, +20% to prevent overcharge / excessive discharge. That's a big chunk of battery which costs money and takes up space. Going to an all-new "denser" chemistry costs big money to develop and test, basically starting over on the battery front. With the 1st gen not paid for, Nissan goes deeper in the hole. Can they afford it?
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          @Ziv: I'm sure if the car could be retrofitted with active thermal *and* the battery expanded by 25%, the cost would go way up. Not to mention space required.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ha, no surprise there, aside from Ghosn finally acknowledging reality. By either metric, the numbers are far beyond what anyone could realistically project: - CY2012 needs 6,600 in Nov & Dec, - FY2012 needs 3,000 Nov to Mar'13. Not happening. OTOH, Volt should easily crack 25k, and could hit 27-28k, just based on sustained momentum and a typically strong end-of-year push.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        I think Nissan IS meeting Leaf sales goals in their domestic production. The U.S. is a secondary market for the Leaf. What were the sales goals for the Volt in markets outside the U.S. ??
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Smart move by GM.... trying to set sales goals in secondary markets where so many factors are outside their control is not a good practice. But also, I am not sure Europe is as self-centered as Americans to think that the Chevy Volt / Opel Ampera is 'their' car and that the sales numbers in Europe are some sort of indication of the overall popularity of the platform.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          On its merits, the Opel / Vauxhall / Holden Ampera should do well enough. The issue is that they're selling into depressed and declining markets. Until Eurozone recovers, those sales will be lower.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I'm not even sure GM has revealed sales targets outside the US, after catching so much flak for the US market numbers. I know they announced 10k preorders in Europe, and it seems like Ampera production is tracking toward that direction. At this point, it seems like GM has moved away from model & year specific projections and just let the actual sales counts speak for themselves.
      Dave R
      • 2 Years Ago
      Slow news day? You just posted an article with basically the same news. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/11/15/carlos-ghosn-remains-optimistic-on-nissans-ev-sales-forecast/
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lowering the price would help a lot of problems.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't buy all the cars. I need some help here.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      What happened to the army of Leaf fans that used to post with such enthusiasm ? The truth is that the Leaf is just not 'good value' outside of Japan. The Leaf was conceived when the 'green tech' environmental boom was at it's height. The idea of a 'commuter' EV , became a doctrine of all those demanding an electric vehicles. Trumpeted by the WKTEC crowd, and sponsored by leftist governments (most of whom have disappeared), the Leaf was believed to have the market potential that the surveys all showed. In fact, the little Leaf was caught in a reality check. When a combination of GFC and natural ennui, burst the Eco-bubble, Nissan was left with it's little orphan. No one accepts responsibility ! This is the car that was demanded ! Suddenly, it's too ugly, too strange, too 'different', to buy. Oh, and last but not least, too expensive ! Well, it can't be produced more cheaply ! The Leaf doesn't make money as it is. You demanded an EV, Nissan built it, the feds gave you a 20% tax credit and other incentives, some states gave you even more, Nissan Finance provided unprecedented lease deals, and still you won't pay a reasonable price for the first real EV ?! Now you blame Carlos Ghosn ?
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        "What happened to the army of Leaf fans that used to post with such enthusiasm ?" They're kinda busy enjoying the car. Go to MyNissanLeaf.com and talk to them. ok, but seriously now. "The truth is that the Leaf is just not 'good value' outside of Japan." True... and there was a lot of unwarranted hope/hype that the retail price would be much lower by now. In reality, people should have NOT expected a retail price low enough to make the a positive ROI for the 1st owner by now... or even the first few years of domestic production in Smyrna, TN. "Suddenly, it's too ugly, too strange, too 'different', to buy" Nope, that is just B.S. straw man excuses that people here use. They wouldn't buy a Leaf anyway, even without those looks... these types of people would just complain about something else.. (oh, look at the trunk space). The real problem is always price. Too expensive for many people. "Well, it can't be produced more cheaply !" You cannot have amnesia about how Nissan has always planned to open a plant in Smyrna which would help make the Leaf production costs lower. Although people have again became too hopeful that the retail prices would drop immediately when the plant opens... this won't likely happen for the first few years. These are birthing pains. The Leaf is not the perfect EV that people were expecting. But it IS the best selling EV... BY FAR. And just a few years ago, people were demanding that automakers would just 'produce the damn things already'.... even if they weren't perfect. So what that wildly optimistic sales projections weren't met. The reality is WAY BETTER than the projections that there would be no EVs on the road by now. What we are seeing now is just folks being impatient and having amnesia about the recent past. Oh... and the looks? Really? Are Americans really as self-centered as the rest of the world thinks? The car is JAPANESE! It looks the way Japanese car buyers want it to look. The U.S. is a secondary market right now. Take a look at some GM and Ford models that are sold exclusively overseas... many are butt ugly to Americans. It will take some time before the Leaf's EV platform is diversified enough to create unique models for each market demand.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        The Leaf didn't sell on target (this year for various reasons), but it is by far the best selling EV both in the US and worldwide (still the best selling plug-in worldwide). I wouldn't count it out yet, esp. given two new factories are coming (which should alleviate the exchange rate issues and show it CAN be produced cheaper). The people saying it's ugly are not the same people who praised it initially (there were also plenty of comments saying it's ugly when the car was launched; I know the most frequent criticism were the headlights which made it look like a frog). I would be careful of putting everyone into the same basket and there is no "responsibility" to accept (as I'm sure the people who praised it heavily likely already owns one; if they didn't then maybe).
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        When the Leaf was announced props were given to Nissan and Ghosn for a bold and groundbreaking venture. He also had a first class record of turning car companies around, so had credibility, At that stage one gives the benefit of the doubt that execution will be effective, as similarly I and others did to Tesla and Musk, which was an even more risky venture. By now it seems pretty clear that Tesla may indeed have pulled it off, which is remarkable. It seems nearly as clear that Nissan and Ghosn have chosen the wrong battery chemistry, which degrades too fast to make the car really competitive if you work out the depreciation. Nissan's claims on future sales have also become increasingly unrealistic, and was their selling the car in Arizona, where degradation due to high temperatures is even faster. So Nissan and Ghosn have been leaking credibility. You seem to have the weird notion that one should form some sort of emotional commitment to companies and individuals, for instance you reject criticism of Ford due to their history, whilst as soon as anything comes from China and India react heavily against them. I evaluate everything afresh as products proceed, so for me GM has been steadily gaining credibility in the way it has approached electrification, whilst Nissan has been loosing it. There is still time to turn it around, and we will know a lot more by the spring, after the Zoe is released, but at the moment Nissan/Renault seem to me to have largely fallen short in their execution primarily due to their choice of battery chemistry and cooling, or the lack of it. I'm not married to Ghosn, and have made no commitment to cherish him for better or worse.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "You seem to have the weird notion that one should form some sort of emotional commitment to companies and individuals, for instance you reject criticism of Ford due to their history, whilst as soon as anything comes from China and India react heavily against them." Who are you talking about? I haven't rejected criticism of Ford and have not mentioned China and India. You are just trying to make me out to be an emotional fanboy for Nissan to make your position of emotional hatred for Nissan seem more moderate. I am the one who has been neither for nor against them. I am the one who pointed out just now that expectations were too high for the Leaf. But also that vitriol and hate is also equally an extremist attitude. YOU are the one emotional about the Leaf, Dave. And spewing fear about Leaf owners having NO RESALE value based on your own interpretation of 0.67% of the Leafs sold in the U.S. having premature degradation. I have been advocating moderation when it comes to evaluation of the Leaf. But you're so extreme, it makes me look like a fanboy.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Joe, My post was to Marco, not you. However your categorisation of problems with the Leaf as being confined to 0.67% of owners is absurd, and not just because of its fake precision. The issue I have identified with the cycle life of the battery is not just in high temperature climates, but is shown in Nissan's own statements and in their documentation and guarantee. 60,000 miles under the NEDC cycle to 80% capacity means massive battery depreciation, and we have no costs for the replacement pack or even if it will become available. That affects 100% of Leaf cars, not 0.67%, and if you think that a car with 80% of an original range of 73 miles on the EPA of which you should only normally use 80% ie around 47 miles of range is worth buttons then you are deluded.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          correction: 0.68% actually. And that percentage is falling during the winter since Leafs haven't been losing capacity bars in cooler weather... while Nissan continues to sell more Leafs.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveMart "Tesla have pulled it off! '' ! What exactly ? Tesla's a great car, and an important step forward for EV's. But Tesla is also a much more expensive car. Your analogy doesn't make sense. Long before the battery problems experienced by Leaf in Arizona, Leaf's sales figures were disappointing. The truth is, that no one learned from the lesson's of early EV makers like, Vectrix. Although lot's of people will rave about the need for EV's, and answer survey's with great optimism, only a few actually buy an EV ! Price is not the main problem. Leaf might sell more at a cheaper price, but not enough to justify the cost of it's manufacture.(Otherwise, iMev would outsell ever other EV.) The real problem for all EV's, is low range, slow and inconvenient charge times. EV fans have always been too wildly optimistic. The argument that people only travel 40 miles per day, and complicated tables proving that (under ideal conditions) EV's can repay it's cast in X time, are meaningless to the average buyer. In reality, that's just not how marketing works! Selling people what you think they need, instead of what they want, is incredibly difficult ! (and very expensive). The sort of people who contribute to EV forum's are largely, idealists. Their expectations of EV's are extensions of political or ideological philosophies. But, that doesn't mean they have the inclination, (or the capacity) to pay the premium that a new technology requires. " Nissan and Ghosn have been leaking credibility " ! Or, could it be that you were just overly enthusiastic about Nissan's products, and now disillusioned, are overly critical ? Your criticism of my lack of support for cars from India or the PRC, is unfair. It wouldn't matter which country produced, poor quality, unsafe little quadracycles, I would be opposed to such vehicles. Why I do oppose certain products ? Not because of ethnicity, but only after thorough research into the product and I always post my reasons, which so far, has never been proven inaccurate. I have nothing against EV makers from any country including Asia. I have often written in praise of Yulon Motors, (Luxgen) due to it's high quality of manufacture, and corporate values. Just as I have often supported the French EV maker Goupil, for the practical elegance of it's designs. I am not uncritical of Ford, but I am realistic. I can understand Ford Motor's (now justified) caution. On principle, (and from self interest ), I am anxious to to see this major contributor to the Western world's economy and employment, survive and prosper. Like you, in my life time I watched the British Automotive industry destroyed (along with most British industry). The reasons for the demise are too complex for a single post, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable, in not wanting the destruction of the American and Australian auto-industry.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "My post was to Marco, not you" okay, that comment came after mine, so I thought you were talking to me... I'll let Marco defend his statements. "is shown in Nissan's own statements and in their documentation and guarantee." No, many people have read the same thing as you... and have not come to the same conclusions that you have. Please recognize the difference between your interpretations and the facts. "or even if [the replacement battery] will become available." That is what I mean. You really twisted one interview to attempt to convince people that batteries may not ever be replaced. YOU are trying to influence resale value right now. "That affects 100% of Leaf cars, not 0.67%" I used the word "premature". ALL LEAF BUYERS have already agreed to 80% degradation over 5 years as acceptable. This is NOT a surprise, and not a crime, as you want people to think. And as much as you would like to inflate that number..... 112 is the number of confirmed cases. There ARE probably unreported case.... but the guys at MNL have been canvasing Facebook for any reports of a lost capacity bar. Without any verification, it is reported on MNL. www.tinyurl.com/Leaf-BadBatteryMap
        mbukukanyau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        They were paid, (some of them) and some experienced something known as range anxiety. Which is why Volt and plug in Prius make sense.
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