The trend gave the Chevrolet Volt the upper hand in July sales for the first time in almost two years, even though the Chevy's annual performance is also down for the year. The likely culprits in both cases are customers waiting on the 2016 models to arrive, along with expiring tax credits, a fleet of expired-lease vehicles rolling back onto the market, and declining gas prices.
As for the much-rehashed expectations, a Leaf with at least 20 miles more range and perhaps up to 35 miles more range is what customers are anticipating in the fall. Either one of those would be a significant number that justifies not buying right now, and orders for the coming hatchback are being taken in some states. The new Leaf will also get a more conventional style and might also come in a small CUV version. We've asked Nissan for a comment on the declining production numbers, but have not yet heard back. We'll update the post if we get a response.
UPDATE: Nissan's Paige Presley told AutoblogGreen, "While I can't comment on future products, I can tell you that we are managing production in line with vehicle demand in the market. With higher sales of Altima and ramping up of Maxima, we have shifted Smyrna's production toward those models. (Additionally, the Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant was on its annual summer shutdown for two weeks in June.) The Nissan LEAF continues to be the global leader in EV sales, and we expect EV sales to continue to rise over time with increasing emission regulations, low operating costs, reduced dependence on foreign energy sources, environmental concerns and fulfilling driving experience."