The Nissan Leaf beats the Chevy Volt in April sales
Prior to April, Nissan had delivered just 471 of the 20,000 2011 Leaf electric vehicles the company expects to deliver this year but with 573 units delivered last month, the Nissan Leaf beats the Volt with its best month since being introduced last December. For comparison, the 2011 Chevy Volt saw 493 sedans reach consumers - a slip from the 608 cars delivered in March 2011 – as the Volt trailed the Leaf in monthly sales for the first time this year.
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt still has the overall lead in sales over the 2011 Nissan Leaf by a “score” of 2,029 to 1,044 but if this past month is any indication of Nissan’s plans to deliver the Leaf, the Japanese automaker could close that gap over the next few months. Nissan originally claimed that the only thing slowing down their delivery process of their electric Leaf was their desire to make sure that the entire process went very smoothly and because of this process, we wouldn’t be seeing big delivery numbers until at least April. Many expected that the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan and crushed the nation’s auto industry would also hit the Leaf but with its best month yet, perhaps we are seeing the ramp-up of deliveries to US customers?
The challenge for Nissan will be to overcome whatever problems were caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster and continue to fulfill the 20,000 pre-orders taken last year. To this point, someone who wants a new Nissan Leaf cannot walk into a dealership and buy one because Nissan has closed the ordering process until they work through the pre-orders. On the other hand, someone who wants a electric vehicle with a range extended gas engine can walk into a Chevrolet dealership and place their order for a 2011 Chevy Volt.
The question is this…how long will consumers who want a Nissan Leaf be willing to wait to place their order when the Chevy Volt offers similar electric driving without the limits of a pure electric vehicle – complicated by the fact that the Leaf is currently unavailable to anyone who hasn’t already ordered one. Nissan has promised to deliver 20,000 Leafs (or Leaves) this year but with just 1,044 sent to consumers so far, the company is falling more and more behind that original number. At this rate, they have just 8 months to get out almost 19,000 vehicles which, if reached, would mean that the company averages roughly 2,369 Leaf deliveries every month for the rest of this year.