Chalk up a big win for the Nissan Leaf. In May, the world's most popular electric vehicle sold a record 3,117 units, the first time any pure electric vehicle has sold over 3,000 units in a month in the US (unless Tesla managed that feat but rolled the number into a quarterly report). This marks the 15th month in a row of record Leaf sales and the seventh where the Leaf was the top EV seller in the US. The challenge bar is set for someone to step up to compete with this all-electric wunderkind.

Chevrolet did sell over 3,000 Volts once, in August 2013.

The Leaf's one long-standing competitor, of a sort, is the Chevy Volt, which used to regularly outsell the Leaf but moved only 1,684 units in May. That's still an increase of 4.8 percent over 2013 but is part of a 4.5 percent decline in year-to-date Volt sales for 2014 compared to last year. The last time the Volt outsold the Leaf was October 2013. Chevrolet did sell over 3,000 Volts once, when it moved 3,351 in August 2013.

Let's take another look at those 3,117 Leafs sold last month. They represent a 45.8 percent increase over May 2013, when 2,138 Leaf EVs were sold, so someone is doing something right in Japan and Tennessee. So far, Leaf sales in the US are up 36.4 percent year-to-date, to 10,389 EVs. That's just under half of the 2013 total, and it was accomplished in five months. In 2013, Nissan sold a total of 22,610 Leafs. Anyone want to hazard a guess where the total will be at the end of the year?

As always, we'll have our detailed monthly sales write-up including other plug-in vehicles as well as hybrids and diesel car, up soon. For now, though, the big news is big Leaf sales. Read Nissan's press release below.
Show full PR text
Nissan Group reports May 2014 U.S. sales
May 2014 May 2013 % Change
Nissan Group Total sales (units) 135,934 114,457 +18.8
Nissan Division May sales 125,558 106,558 +17.8
Infiniti May sales* 10,376 7,899 +31.4

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Group today announced total U.S. sales for May 2014 of 135,934 units, an increase of 18.8 percent over the prior year and a May record.

Nissan highlights:

Nissan Division set a May record at 125,558 sales in the month, an increase of 17.8 percent. This marks a monthly record for Nissan division in 14 of the last 15 months.

May was the best-ever month for Nissan LEAF with 3,117 sales, an increase of 45.8 percent over the prior year. In May, LEAF passed 50,000 total U.S. sales since launch, further establishing it as the leader among electric vehicles.

Nissan Altima sales set a May record at 36,053, up 12.9 percent. Year-to-date, Altima has the largest sales increase of any car in the midsize category.

Nissan Sentra also set a May sales record at 21,932, breaking the previous mark set in 1984 when Sentra was Nissan's top-selling model. Sentra sales were up 75.4 percent for the month.

Sales of the Nissan Rogue crossover set a May record with 18,722, an increase of 8 percent.

Nissan Versa sales increased 30.5 percent to 11,243 in May, also a record for the month.

Juke crossover sales also set a May record at 3,825, an increase of 33.4 percent over the prior year.

*Infiniti sales total included for reference. For more information on Infiniti's May sales performance, please visit InfinitiNews.com.

NOTE: To ensure consistency in global sales reporting, Nissan North America calculates monthly variances on a straight-percentage basis, unadjusted for the number of selling days. May 2014 had 27 selling days, while May 2013 had 26 selling days.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      thecommentator2013
      • 1 Day Ago
      Love my Volt. Period. Haven't refilled my gas tank for the last 6 months and still nearly half full. Got it?
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      LEAF sales are definitely doing well, but the big stories are the 500e and the i3 right now. There are new 500es all over the place. And I saw 3 i3s in the first week of sales. And that was before the RExes even came out, which are supposed to outsell the EVs 2 to 1. While I was verifying the 5th new i3 I'd seen recently was a REx, another one zoomed behind me in the parking lot, the 6th. And this is in two weeks. At least around here, where people have money and aren't afraid to sell it, I'm pretty sure the i3 is going to take a bite out of LEAF sales. It's still the 500e that surprises me the most. I've talked to a couple owners. They are generally less well informed than the other buyers I talk to and a lot less "EV-minded". I think the industry could learn a lot from FIAT. They're reaching customers who didn't set out to get an EV and aren't cross-shopping at all. Also, Nissan has to make the LEAF less ugly, the good looks of the 500e are a big factor, these customers are essentially unreachable with the lumpen LEAF.
        Aaron
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Rotation
        The 500e would be a bigger deal if it was available outside of California and Oregon.
        Anonymous Coward
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Rotation
        The 500e which the Fiat CEO doesnt want you to buy and will not sell outside CA. And the i3 lease price = 2x-3x Leaf Lease price. So neither is going to put a dent in Leaf sales. If anything, they will drive more people to the Leaf.
          Rotation
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Anonymous Coward
          As I mentioned, I am referring to around here. Around here people have money and aren't afraid to spend it. They'll be glad to buy a BMW i3 instead of a LEAF just as if they were buying a gas car they'd get a 3-series instead of a Sentra. And if you think this area isn't large enough to matter, the automakers would like to disagree with you. Right now, with EVs being a niche thing, this area's high sales rate and good infrastructure mean it is disproportionately important in EV sales. This effect will of course go down over time, but it's not going to go away soon.
        Jon
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Rotation
        Well, word is FIAT is a little bit unhappy with how successful they are :). Where do you live? I have yet to see any i3 or 500e's but model S's are a common sight here in northern VA.
      Rotation
      • 1 Day Ago
      California San Francisco Bay Area.
      • 1 Day Ago
      I'm on my 2nd Volt lease and love the vehicle! Since it is my only car, having the range extender just makes sense. Over 90% of my travel is electric and the stats on the 2012 after 2.5 years were 339.00 MPG..... ;-)
      Spec
      • 6 Months Ago
      Amazing. Although I prefer pure EVs, I suspected that PHEVs would be playing the dominant role right now as most people still get in a tizzy over range and charge times. But I guess a lot of 2 car families are learning that you can easily deal with 1 car being a short range EV for daily short driving . . . to work, to school, to the grocery store, to the movies, etc. And another car for the weekend trips.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Spec
        It's simply economics. An EV is a far more cost effective vehicle. The dual drive system of PHEVs keep them expensive. The relatively low price EVs will save you money. There is no PHEV that saves you money compared to a small economy car. Sure, people spend stupid money on vehicles, but typically not those who would be interested in an electric commuter. The Volt is asking for an ego premium and while there are many who pay some type of ego premiumt, it is mostly for power or styling or size or some other compensation reason. Those that pay the ego premium to be green are a small and weird group. The Leaf will save you money, and so despite it's ugliness, it still sells. Car companies, and especially salesmen hate those kinds of rational consumers.
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          "ego premium"? Too funny. I live in Florida, as I said, this is my only car. Any emergency over the range of the Leaf would entail vehicle rental. Running from hurricanes? Call to the hospital at 2am that is 200 miles away? Different vehicles for different needs!
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          --"Call to the hospital at 2am that is 200 miles away?" Where in florida is this magic land of no hospitals? --"Running from hurricanes?" Not a zombie apocalypse.... a hurricane which always has at least a day's notice... and you only have to head inland a few dozen miles at the most. These excuses are lame. Yes, I lived in Florida for a long while... that world exist strictly in the minds of people. If that is why many people are buying Volts... then its popularity is very limited. On the other hand, if you just admit, that regular conveniences (non-emergencies) would make you prefer a PHEV... I could completely understand that. But do not pretend that the emergencies you've made up are an excuse to stay away from BEVs.
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          I think many volt owners bought their car for the same reason I bought my fusion energi. Driving around town I am in electric 95 percent of the time and electric drives much nicer than any gas car I have driven. It also in my opinion happens to be a great looking car. Except for road trips I never put more than 4 gallons in at a time since that lasts me about 2 months. I have 11000 miles on my car and it still does not need oil change. No brake dust to clean off the wheels. These are the best perks for buying a phev, the green part is a nice bonus. That is why the volts and energies are worth the extra money and why I believe most buy them. I have a leaf as well and I assure you I would not have bought one if it was a gas car even if it got 50mpg.
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          Well Joe, when your GF, her daughter & grandma are at Shands and a two day stay turns into a five day stay BUT grandma has to be back home for a meeting.......... Here's Johnny. Get the call at 11:30 pm so rental is out. Golly, it really happened and your "lame" comment is silly & childish. Meanwhile the Volt is a great vehicle that I liked so much that I leased two.
          Smurf
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          @ Joeviocoe.. If you live in the FL panhandle... My Mom lived on St George Island and they flew her all the way to Tallahassee in an emergency..... Hurricane evacuation is no joke either. Neither are the power outages that last for multiple days after a hurricane. Bottom line is there are any of a number of reasons to unexpectedly have to drive more than the 75 mile range of a LEAF. Sometimes it may be as simple as going to a dinner party after work without time to recharge. If you choose to own a LEAF as your only vehicle, it is simply something that you have to be wiling to live with.. I owned a LEAF, but was fortunate to have a second vehicle (a Volt). I was surprised how many times I had to leave the LEAF at home. I "never" had to leave the Volt at home. That alone made it worth the extra cost...
        ssdajoker
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Spec
        I take weekend trips in my Nissan Leaf all the time. What limits me is the DC quick chargers, they get me from Temecula, to San YIsidro, to Tijuana, San Diego has an ok car charging infrastructure. It is my only car, I have a baby boy, and we as a family do just fine with it. It's all about infrastructure.
        porosavuporo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Spec
        I thought that the "early adopters" market for BEVs will try up quickly, but it appears that just by having a Leaf in the neighborhood it generates more early adopters. This is the "EV grin" phenomenon actually spreading now.
      JULES
      • 1 Day Ago
      If they would actually have inventory atdealers , and a sunroof / leather - I would consider them .
      Michael Walsh
      • 6 Months Ago
      August 2013 was when we bought out Volt...there were some spectacular deals on the leftover inventory. We bought a base 2013 for $21.5k (after incentives, rebates, and dealer cash).
      Matt
      • 1 Day Ago
      I want to go electric, but there is no savings for the consumer. If you do the math, you find that you pay so much more that you may never recoup the extra investment.
        Technoir
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Matt
        Matt The Nissan Leaf makes sense economically, so you can go ahead and buy one.
        Jim
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Matt
        Wow. What an easy comment to debunk. I just ran the numbers for leasing a Chevy Cruze ($199/mo.) vs. leasing a Chevy Volt ($269/mo.). The Volt would save me about $70/mo. in gasoline costs, making the total cost about equal. The Volt would actually save me even more if my driving patterns were different, but unfortunately about half of my driving miles are long trips, where the Volt would be running on gas.
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Matt
        Please show us your math. Be sure to include the Federal $7500 tax-credit and any local or state incentives. And be sure to raise the gas price each year by at least the amount of inflation (although it has been going up faster than over the last decade).
          TurboFroggy
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          Lets have some fun with math shall we? Here is comparing the purchase cost and fuel of a Base Mazda 3 and a Nissan Leaf in one of the top markets for the Leaf, Seattle: Base Mazda 3 with Automatic, $18,345 + sales tax = $19,996 and gets 39 highway, 27 city, 33 combined. 12,000 miles a year / 33 mpg = 364 gallons of fuel * $4/gallon = $1,456 in fuel. $19,996 - $21,300 = $1,306 less than a Leaf. Leaf driven 12K miles a year = 3.7 miles/kwh = 3243 kwh * $0.083 = $269.17. So after the 13th month of ownership the Mazda 3 costs more, and keeps costing more after that.
      Technoir
      • 1 Day Ago
      These results are stunning. Normally, a new car's sales are high in the beginning, and slowly go down over the period of a few years. That the Leaf's sales increase this much, even though the car came out several years old, is unusual. This indicates that EVs have a promising future.
      theflew
      • 6 Months Ago
      Makes you wonder if GM is pacing their sales for the arrival of the Gen II Volt. I don't know how far they've went into their 250k to maintain the $7500 tax rebate, but I guarantee they want it around when the start selling Gen II. Nissan's success could hurt them in the long run from a price standpoint.
        Ziv
        • 1 Day Ago
        @theflew
        GM has sold 59,700 Volts in the US through April and that leaves them 140,300 to sell before the credit starts phasing out upon the sale of the 200,000th Volt. At that point it gets cut in half for 2 quarters, ($3750) then cut in half again for the next 2 quarters. So I don't think GM is in a position where they will lose the credit until the Gen II has been selling for at least a year and a half. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxphevb.shtml
      dupontlaw
      • 6 Months Ago
      Whoa Leaf is nearly 3% of Nissan Division Sales?
      • 6 Months Ago
      Urban dwellers looking for a new car and suburbanites looking for a commuter are giving this car a good look would be my bet. Build it and they will come. Now double the range and those of us living out in the country will buy. At least I will. G
        • 1 Day Ago
        I think one of the biggest things holding the Leaf back is the styling. There must be a dozen people at my office, including myself, that own one and most say the same thing. The interior is nice but the car is so ugly. Clearly we bought it for all of the things that make EVs great and after 2 years the looks are growing on me :)
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Day Ago
          The prius styling actually improved a lot starting with the 2010 model. Same basic aero shape, but a much better looking front end. It's still Toyota-Bland, but as bad as the first 2 versions.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          Styling held the prius back too. Do you remember the nasty reviews it had? It was an issue,... until people got used to it.
          porosavuporo
          • 1 Day Ago
          Appears to be true story, Letstakeawalk, confirmed by Porsche designer Tony Lapine. I did NOT want to know that : )
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Day Ago
          The Pacer design was considered so good, that Porsche cribbed the rear end for the 928.
          porosavuporo
          • 1 Day Ago
          Also. It appears that styling and tastes actually do change over time. I am sure AMC Pacer looked great to many people in 70ies
          thecommentator2013
          • 1 Day Ago
          Strange. I think otherwise. The interior is horrible, the look of the LEAF is actually quite modern....I like the LEAF..not its interior though.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        Considering 80% of the US population fits into those two categories, I think it's a very safe bet that urbanites and suburbanites are the Leaf's most typical buyers.
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