Nissan managed to buck the industry's overall trend of lower sales in February with double-digit growth throughout its lineup. That includes a 12th month of record sales for the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, with the year-over-year numbers up more than a skosh. The February ledger for the Chevy Volt looked much worse, falling 25.6 percent from February 2013 down to 1,210 units. With 1,425 Leafs sold, Nissan came away the winner in a head-to-head competition between these the two early plug-in vehicles for the fourth month in a row.

Nissan expects the Leaf's sales momentum continue in March.

February Leaf sales were up 118.2 percent, making 2014 the car's best February ever. The car was most popular in San Francisco, CA and Atlanta, GA, two places where the the brutal winter cold that struck most of the country had a limited effect. Nissan said that other markets with notable Leaf sales growth were Honolulu, HI, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX and Denver, CO. Toby Perry, Nissan's director of EV sales and marketing, said in a statement that Nissan, "amped up advertising in the latter half of February, which already has resulted in an uptick in sales and a significant increase in shopping traffic. We expect to see that momentum continue in March."

The Volt retains an overall sales lead against the Leaf, but Chevy's calendar year-to-date sales numbers are down 23.1 percent so far in 2014. Overall, Chevy's sales calendar YTD numbers were down just 7.7 percent, so the Volt is performing below average. As always, we will have a more complete report of last month's green car sales up in short order.


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  • 47 Comments
      Koenigsegg
      • 6 Months Ago
      for some reason people like the ugly leaf over the sexy/aggressive volt
        SteveM
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        If I lived close enough to where I work, I'd own a Leaf over a Volt, too. All electric, much lower price. Looks aren't everything.
      AddLightness
      • 6 Months Ago
      This extreme cold weather in the Midwest has been really hurting the range of my Leaf. If I'm on the highway going 55-65 mpg my range is between 40-50 miles. In normal temperatures in the city I could definitely see it getting over 100 miles of range, but worst case scenario days do happen from time to time and it sucks lol. I definitely don't regret leasing it and will probably never buy a ICE car again because of how much better EVs are, right now I'm just lucky I don't need to do a lot of highway driving on a normal day. Its disappointing to see Volt sales struggle, it really does need a 5th seat. Its the main reason that I did not get it over the Leaf.
        elctrNmbliT
        • 6 Months Ago
        @AddLightness
        The fact the Volt doesn't get any tax incentives in some states shouldn't be underestimated. I live in Atlanta and drive a Volt. There are 6 Leafs in my neighborhood out of about 100 homes. Most are the base model and leased. In Georgia the leasee gets the $5K rebate. If you are buying a Volt or leasing it you get nothing from the state. On top of that the Volt base price starts $5K higher than the lowest Leaf base MSRP. The higher base price and the lack of state rebate separates the Volt from the Leaf by $10K here.
        scraejtp
        • 6 Months Ago
        @AddLightness
        I see the 5th seat comment much more regularly than I anticipated. I guess as DINKS my wife and I don't have this issue. The Volt is our best multi-passenger car, as the BRZ and single cab truck are much worse.
      paulwesterberg
      • 6 Months Ago
      I think that GM dealerships are their own worst enemy - the volt is sold alongside a lot of cheaper gassers and the dealers just want to make a sale. If the buyer says the car is too expensive or not roomy enough or whatever the dealer will show them their large selection of regular vehicles - now with improve fuel economy. The dealers don't have the background/numbers to explain to people how the volt can save them money and makes a decent commuter vehicle. GM has dealerships all over the country - many in smaller rural towns where newfangled technology requires a lot more time consuming customer education. Nissan's dealerships are mostly urban/suburban where the clientele is more likely to be tech-savy.
        paulwesterberg
        • 6 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        I just passed a rural GM dealership yesterday - zero volts on the lot. Two years ago they had 2-3 cars right out front.
          CoolWaters
          • 6 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          And in a rural area it would make sense to have a Volt as you'd use those 40 electric miles more often, saving MORE MONEY.
          Ziv
          • 6 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          EZEE2, you think you got a problem with Autocorrect? My iPhones Siri must be Persian because she sure doesn't understand English! LOL! I asked for directions to King Street Metro in Alexandria and she tried to get me driving directions to London.
          EZEE2
          • 6 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          @cool I always thought as a city car they would be better. Maureen, you would go through the entire 40 miles daily, but in the city....no gas....ever! My sister works Ina. City, but her gf is in the country. So she would only use gas on Friday and Sunday night.
          MTN RANGER
          • 6 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          I bought my Volt from a rural dealer. The sales manager told me about 90% of their sales are trucks.
      Spec
      • 6 Months Ago
      And unless they start to sell, I suspect they'll go back to Volt.s
      Ziv
      • 6 Months Ago
      I don't think GM really wants to sell Volts, so the only thing I can figure is that they must be taking a loss on each one built. The Volt as it is now is merely a place holder for the coming Gen II Volt. Why else would Chevy let inventory drop to less than the amount they sold in a single month? And why would one of their top dealerships, Stingray near Tampa, have just one 2014MY Volt on their lot in 6+ months? And they don't have a single 2014MY on the lot now. Just beyond odd. Is there any other explanation? Do they think that a significant number of the packs will fail while under warrantee? That doesn't look likely. The good news is that electric car sales as a whole are going from strength to strength with YoY increases nearly every month. I love my Volt, but I don't think GM/Chevy likes it much at all.
        EZEE2
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ziv
        I first thought your post was wrong, but I thought about it...I never see lots loaded up with volts, and with the exception of the sweet lease deal, I have not seen deep discounts, like what they are doing on the new silver ado.
        Naturenut99
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ziv
        My thoughts almost exactly. I do think they have slow walked the 1st gen. for several reasons. The 2nd gen. I do expect them to promote more. Not to mention a much improved car. Which is also what Toyota did with the Prius. I never heard anything about the 1st gen Prius. I understand them not wanting to have left over inventory. But supposedly the 2nd gen. wasn't to be here for another 1-1/2 or 2-1/2 years. So why slow down so fast ?
        Dave R
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ziv
        There's quite a few ELRs on the lots now, almost 700. That's about 10 months worth of inventory at the current sales rate. Perhaps the ramp up of ELR production slowed down Volt production.
      winc06
      • 6 Months Ago
      What is this continued false sales dichotomy between an EV and a domestic hybrid? I think the Prius outsells them both. A comparison between the Leaf and the Ford CMax Energi might make sense. Or the Volt vs Honda Civic Hybrid. I just don't see why this article is interesting except as new filler to draw you to the ads.
        BraveLil'Toaster
        • 6 Months Ago
        @winc06
        It's all about what the public thinks is the better option: whether to go completely gas-free (for whatever reason), or go mostly gas-free, but with that little bit of extra insurance that the gas engine backup provides. Does the public want a security blanket, or do they want to toss gasoline to the curb like an abusive boyfriend? That's what this is really about.
          BraveLil'Toaster
          • 6 Months Ago
          @BraveLil'Toaster
          Technically speaking, this is also what the bet is between GM and Nissan. "No," says GM, "The battery isn't big enough and cheap enough yet. Americans want a car that will go 300+ miles". "No," says Nissan, "Statistics show that most Americans hardly ever drive more than 40 miles in a day anyway". All that's left now, is to see which philosophy wins in the marketplace.
        scraejtp
        • 6 Months Ago
        @winc06
        How is the C-Max Energi a closer to the Leaf than the Volt? The comparison is still because these were the first mass produced EVs by major auto manufactures released at the same time. Yes the Volt isn't a pure EV, instead an EREV. But that is part of the comparison, to see how the different technologies compete.
        Ziv
        • 6 Months Ago
        @winc06
        win, I don't see how people AREN'T going to compare the Volt and the Leaf. The only EREV vs. the most successful BEV under $40k makes a natural rivalry/script. It isn't just about which car will win the months sales figure competition, it is also about which type of electric car will win, EREV/PHEV vs. BEV. And even though my Volt has gotten whacked several months running, I think the comparison is an important one. But the most important one is total sales of cars with a plug, and in that comparison we all are winning big with YoY monthly sales numbers growing to a record nearly every month this past year or two.
        Jeff
        • 6 Months Ago
        @winc06
        Sounds like winc06 doesn't even realize that the Volt is an EREV (extended-range Electric Vehicle), much like the CMax Energi. Pretty pathetic IMO. Maybe that's why Volt sales are lagging. Uneducated people like winc06 STILL don't know exactly what it is. :P
      SeadogMillionaire
      • 6 Months Ago
      I am baffled why Chevy Volt sales would dip, except that February is when the Cadillac ELR came out and perhaps some bought that instead (I know that my Cadillac dealer sold their first three ELR's before they arrived). There seems to be a confusion with people about the Volt, that they don't have (but actually should have) with the Leaf or Tesla. The Volt is like the Prius, only better ... much better, and that car is popular with those buyers. Regardless, I love my Volt ... I am addicted to the quick acceleration, balanced cornering and ... quiet !!! I hope and plan to never buy a gasoline car again !!!
        • 6 Months Ago
        @SeadogMillionaire
        One reason could be availability. I placed an order for my 2014 Volt on Sept 23th 2013 and it was delivered on Jan 17th 2014!!!!
      garylai
      • 6 Months Ago
      FYI, new owners of the 2014 Nissan Leaf are reporting much longer range than the 2011-2013 models or EPA estimates. Owners are posting on the My Nissan Leaf forum (http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=15950) getting 90-100 miles driving at 60-65 miles. Nissan has done something to the 2014 battery or software or motor to squeeze greater range out of it.
        BraveLil'Toaster
        • 6 Months Ago
        @garylai
        Didn't they make the motor smaller or something, such that the available torque was considerably lower than previous iterations? Or is that the 2013 MY?
        Smoking_dude
        • 6 Months Ago
        @garylai
        Oh I am so sorry. the allt ime broken autoblog comment system voted you down. I clicked on vote up, and then it signed me in. :( autoblog never cares. :((( so thanks anyways for the info. It is nice to see how nissan stands behind the leaf as it is no experiment with a few cars. I really hope that they will offer a 48kwh leaf as tested as prototype. also as GM hinted that the 2015 volt well be completely new with a much bigger battery it is no wonder that they don't sell so well
        garylai
        • 6 Months Ago
        @garylai
        Sorry, I meant to say "getting 90-100 miles range driving at 60-65 mph on the highway"
        Rotation
        • 6 Months Ago
        @garylai
        Haha. No. If there were more range, Nissan would be the first to trumpet it.
      GleninCA
      • 6 Months Ago
      Tagberto, I don't need to put 3 people in my backseat very often and I'd guess that the majority of cars don't have 5 people in their sedans most of the time. But I think a lot of people might still want to have that 5th seat if possible as they've grown used to seeing that in cars for most of their life, which might be the reason Volt is losing sales to other EVs and EREVs.
      winc06
      • 6 Months Ago
      My bad on the Ford. Thinking it was an EV and the Focus EV has been discontinued. The Volt is not really an EREV. The engine is also used to propel the car, not just recharge the battery. That makes it a hybrid regardless of the GM ad hype. So why would you compare Leaf sales to this plug in hybrid rather than any other?
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      winc06: It's an EREV because when it's electric, it's only electric. It has nothing to do with whether the ICE can drive the wheels in some modes. It is definitely a plug-in hybrid no matter what. Any EREV is, because an EREV takes both gas and electricity as inputs. The LEAF is compared to the Volt because both debuted at the same time and were the only two affordable vehicles in the US that could be driven on electricity alone for a while. Comparing a C-Max or Plug-in Prius doesn't make as much sense because in those cars if you press the pedal too hard (call for enough acceleration) the ICE comes on, even with EV range remaining.
      SteveM
      • 6 Months Ago
      Nothing against the Volt, mind you.
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