January is traditionally a time when new car shoppers take a break. For the last few years, if we isolate our focus to just the first two major plug-in cars in the US market, we see that the first month of the year was lower – often dramatically lower – than the 11 that followed. So, when you see the Chevy Volt dropped and Nissan Leaf sales figures for January 2015, don't be too surprised.

The Volt sold only 542 units last month, that model's lowest since August 2011. That also represents a 41 percent drop from January 2014, and it reinforces the thought that if anyone out there is interested in a new Volt, they're going to be waiting for the new model to drop later this year. While we do expect sales to climb in February and into spring, we won't be surprised if the general Volt trend remains quiet until the second-generation arrives.

On the Leaf side of the ledger, January's low sales numbers were still about twice as high as the Volt's – the Leaf sold 1,070 units last month, the lowest since February 2013 – but it did break a streak for the Japanese automaker. Usually, each month represents at least an increase over the same month a year ago, but that wasn't the case this time. In January 2014, Nissan sold 1,252 Leafs. Still, Brendan Jones, Nissan's director of electric vehicle sales and infrastructure, issued an upbeat statement: "We saw a significant increase in demand in December from Nissan Leaf customers looking to take advantage of federal and state incentives at the end of the tax year, which pulled some sales ahead. We're confident that EV sales will continue to rise over time due to increasing emission regulations and other reasons for purchase of EVs such as lower operating costs, reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, environmental concerns and a great driving experience."

The numbers will tell us soon enough.


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