The driver's side profile of the Chevy Volt
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Chevy Volt continues to thrash Nissan Leaf in April 2012

While the Chevrolet Volt failed to hit the same impressive sales figures as it did in March, April 2012 brought about another month where the electric Chevy vastly outsold the Nissan Leaf – this time by a margin of almost 3 to 1 – helping the Volt to continue to pull away from the Leaf in sales for the 2012 calendar year.

In April 2012, General Motors sold 1,462 examples of the Chevrolet Volt – an increase of 197% compared to April of 2011. This figure presents a fair drop from the 2,289 Volts sold in March but April is the second best month of the 2012 year for the electric Chevy with extended range capabilities. There were 603 Volts sold in January and 1,023 sold in February; all coming together to sell a total of 5,377 through the first 4 months of 2012. That presents an improvement of 216% compared to the first third of 2011 when GM sold just 1,703 Volts. The impressive figure of almost 5,400 units also gives GM the bragging rights of outselling the Leaf by a margin of better than 2.5 to 1 this year.

Things weren’t so kind for the Nissan Leaf sales figures for April 2012 as with just 370 units sold – the Leaf posted its worst month of 2012. Nissan is still working to fulfill deliveries from the original batch of 20,000 orders for the Leaf taken in 2010 and even though things have been up and down in terms of deliveries in the US; figures have been fairly bad for the 2012 year. There were 676 Leaf electric vehicles sold in January followed by just 478 in February and 579 in March. These figures all fall well shy of the Leaf’s best month of June 2011, where the Japanese automaker delivered 1,709 examples of its all-electric vehicle. Overall, sales figures for the Nissan Leaf in 2012 have been pretty poor but with the Leaf having made its big run during the summer months in 2011 – perhaps the Leaf will see figures improve as the weather warms up in the US.

In case the monthly figures for the year weren’t a clear enough indication as to who the big dog is in the electric car segment this year – the Volt sold more vehicles in March 2012 than Nissan sold Leaf vehicles in the first four months of the year. On the year, the Nissan Leaf has moved a total of 2,103 units for an improvement of 105% compared to the first four months of 2011. That seems like good news but when you look at the downward trend in Leaf sales compared to the boom in Chevy Volt sales; the Leaf has clearly lost the momentum that it had in the middle of 2011. Chevrolet ended the 2011 year with a lead in month sales over the Nissan and aside from the slow month in January – 2012 has been a year dominated by the Chevy Volt.

The 2013 model year Chevrolet Volt is scheduled to get a new battery saver mode previously only available in European models – a feature which could help the American Volt sedans get even better fuel (and battery) economy. Needless to say, a more efficient Chevy Volt could put an even bigger hurtin’ to the Leaf in terms of sales unless Nissan can answer back soon.

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Comments

When you mention sales figures for a given month, do you mean when an order was placed ... or the delivery and paperwork is signed off? Big difference. My Leaf should arrive in June ... is it yet counted in your statistics? Not that one makes a difference.
EXACTLY! Nissan is still running through the initial 20,000 orders on the 2010 waitlist, so the problem is with slow manufacture, not lack of demand. We aren't in the market for a new car at htis time, but when we area, I would love to get a LEAF. My commute to work is 50 miles, and I don't go further than that for any other purpose. This is the only EV that will serve my purpose. I think it looks COOL! And I love the color choices.
To Thrash a Leaf, wow, that's a real accomplishment.
I think this "win/lose" mentality is entrenched in the industry but needs to be looked at differently as all of these companies are trying to get some traction with the American consumer to embrace this new technology. I don't really know if burying the Nissan Leaf is a good thing for Chevy because each product has enough differentiation to appeal to different customers. Chevy would do well to advise young people who are in the market for a Electric Vehicle and just starting out to actually go get the Leaf or the Mitsubish MiEV so that they can inspire their parents that have money to follow their lead by getting a Volt or Tesla Sedan which are much more luxurious vehicles. The more people that adopt Electric and Electric Hybrids, regardless of product is good for all as we need a better infrastructure to support these new vehicle. I live in a 600 Square Mile metro area and there are less than a dozen public places to charge my Volt. Without more places to plug in the public is going to continue to be leary of the technology. This industry is in it's infancy and winners in 2012 may be long term losers if there play is to discourage the adoption of the technology in order to prevent other manufacturers from "winning".
Very true. Toyota even went so far to pay for a biased emmsions report on the leaf/volt so as its Prius salesman had something to counter the clear superiority of emmsions from these two EVs ... Cut it out guys, at $5 a gallon lots of customers for everyone!
"Cut it out guys, at $5 a gallon lots of customers for everyone!" We have subsidies in place, this means people need a lot of incentive to buy. I did note that the majority who buy the Volt compare them to other luxury cars, that's Impressive when you consider that Chevy markets the Cruze as a compact with one more seat. Who can argue with Toyota's success? They built what real customers wanted to buy, and that should be the goal of every Car company, "building what people can afford to buy." We know that Toyota did extensive research and discovered exactly who wanted a hybrid, and how much it could cost for them to be able to buy it. They understood you need buyers (with money or jobs) to make a sale. No doubt in my mind, their intensive study included data on 'qualified' buyers for the pure electric. We need not agree on a thing, but untill the EV can recharge in 10 minutes or less, it will be severly handicapped. I think it would be fun to set up a leaf in the mall, and give people hard currency in exchange for taking a very short survey. Among the questions of course. Where do you work and how much money do you make? Part of the lure of the leaf is the preceived ability to drive for free, and I suspect a large portion of those interested in such a car have little or no money to buy it. The coverage of the NUMMI plant in California is an interesting study for car enthusiasts of all kinds. It's leads us to understand how Toyota has been able to win over market share from General Motors. Know what people want, know what they can afford, and deliver a high quality product. Somewhere in cycberspace, there's a group assembling right now to spearhead the Goverment Lease Program, every College student would get the use of a leaf as part of the student loan program. Do we live in an age where every sale will be partially tendered by printing more debt? Ahh, another argument, would ensue... what is money and who should have it?
The energy Industry s built on subsidies. In canada the tars sands projects have been made with $30 billion in "joint venture" tax giveaways from the poor Canadian tax payer ( a huge risk by any standard, but off the scale for Alberta and Canadian federal governments ). It paid off for them, thank god. In the us after 30 years of r&d by doe , with 10$ billion in tax payer funding, doe has created the fracking process and created a new mini energy boom. Both of these are now stand alone free enterprise driven parts of our economy that high risk high reward energy projects researched and funding by the poor old tax payer. $200 million in Bush era EV credits to buyers willing to not run on oil s a tiny price in comparison. Toyota should also be proud, with only a little bit of Japanese government r$d funding , they stuck with it thru critics almost as harsh as what the volt is going thru. 10 years of hard selling they created a New market. Now it's time for the Gm, ford and Chrysler to finally take some risk and bring us an oil free future !
Greetings gbrecke, I was listed as anonymous but I did post the win/lose comment. I lease my Volt and the current deal is $2500 down, $350 a month for a 3 year 36,000 mile lease and that price was driven down due to the government subsidy. Some things to consider: A. The program isn't just for the Volt. Several cars qualify including those made overseas B. The Chevy Volt is an American Car built by American Auto Workers C. The Chevy Volt holds a charge that gets me about 40 miles a day which is more than I usually drive D. On the days I drive more I get over 40mpg when gas is engaged. Net result is that I am getting about 140 MPG with my current habits E. This program is helping me have less dependance on Foreign Oil as I am spending about $2000 less on gasoline per year. The bottom line is that there are a lot of crappy government subsidies out there. Subsidies that allow company's to ship jobs and our money overseas. I bought an American Car and I drive in a way that makes me ship less money to countries that support terrorism. Personally, I am not saving any money by adopting the Volt but I do think that the net win by going with that particular car is a +1 for the USA. The faster we get off of foreign oil dependence the better for all of us. I live in the west but not in California, and I have "range anxiety". Once or twice a year I like to make a trip to Cali or Oregon or Arizona. The Volt is a nice stop gap until a real solution can be made for a true electric vehicle to make the 300 miles I need it to. You are absolutely right, faster charging and longer range are the keys to making our conversion to EV's seemless for the masses. In the mean time, those of us that have the means, should consider an EV. I consider the $7500 subsidy to be a good idea in this case when you have context. We currently have $45 Billon Dollars on the books for subsidies for the Big Oil companies for the next 10 years. Perhaps we can leech some of that money to help us convert to EV's a little more quickly, don't you think?
Greetings Laspaled, This is a lot like arguing whose religion is best. I remember years ago I had one of the first homebuilt computers, it cost a LOT of money for the parts at the time. My wife's girl friend attempted to get me to defend the purchase, she said.. "so what you going to do with it?" I replied "It's a toy, and I'm going to play with it". Point is.. we need not justify our purchases, liking it and being able to afford it should be enough. I doubt the average driver will do more than rationalize the extra money paid between the Volt and the Cruze. The argument about lower emissions, that gets into all kinds of things including what the real loss was to GM on the sale. Buying American or Canadian, you bet there's merit to that argument. My beef with GM is they have a very long history of NOT managing the business and they have screwed a lot of famlies because of it. I think the CEOs job is to create sales for his dealers, and not screw them as bad as last time, The best way to take care of those who invested in you, is to build something people want.. The volt is too darned expensive to make a dealer any money. The leaf is too limited. Volt drivers might like it, but it is a liability for dealers, expensive to train techs for the few they see, and parts will lneed to be shipped to dealers just after the need crops up..
Thank you for the dialogue Gbrecke. Your points are spot on and very thoughtful. Only time will tell what the eventual outcome will be. You are absolutely right that the volume of sales being made will dictate whether the manufacturers and dealers can make money on these products long term.
The energy Industry s built on subsidies and for good reason, it the high risk octane behind our economy. In canada the tars sands projects have been made with $30 billion in "joint venture" tax giveaways from the poor Canadian tax payer ( a huge risk by any standard, but off the scale for Alberta and Canadian federal governments ). It paid off for them, thank god. In the us after 30 years of r&d by doe , with 10$ billion in tax payer funding, doe has created the fracking process and created a new mini energy boom. How quickly people forget the source of this tech. Both of these are now stand alone free enterprise driven parts of our economy, high risk high reward energy projects researched and funding by the poor old tax payer. $200 million in Bush era EV credits to buyers willing to not run on oil s a tiny price in comparison. Toyota should also be proud, with only a little bit of Japanese government r$d funding , they stuck with it thru critics almost as harsh as what the volt is going thru. 10 years of hard selling they created a New market. Now it's time for the consumer to take a bit of risk if he dare, with a just a tiny bit of coin from the tax payer to help him make the right choice. Then compans like Gm, ford and Chrysler can to finally take some risk and bring us an oil free EV future !
For those who understand there's nothing but losses to tally between the plug on the EV and it's power source, we might question whether oil free is enough to satisfy the ever more demanding fringe group. I'm afraid there will be groups threatening our politicians less than work to ban any form of energy other than moon beams! reality says we will make electrical energy from natural gas for a long while, we must in order to keep our economy going. This will become fact, and there are 30 years or more of signed contracts in palce between power plants and suppliers, they have worked hard to make the best and cleanest decision they could. There's every reason to consider the compressed natural gas car, especially if it trumps the EVs range and cost half as much. People seem to do the math in the middle and forget the ends. I have found the posts here very thoughtful, and I know everone of them here has value.
We are one of those 1,462 Chevy Volts buyers. Since we live in the north, the Leaf's winter range made us nervous. We went with the Volt, and we haven't been to the gas station once. We have our electric range up to about 79 kilometers. In the winter, the Volt's range will drop as well, whilst we'll probably be at the gas station on a weekly basis. So not looking forward to that experience again. One side effect if you buy an electric vehicle, that I didn't count on, is how sensitive your nose will become to exhaust fume. I smell it every time I'm in a gasoline car, and it's really strong to the nose. Rather glad we bought one, but we are not saving much money. We are using the money we save on gas to pay for the car. So we were able to remove gasoline from our budget and move that money to the auto finance line. The Volt isn't about saving money, but more about supporting a cleaner environment, well at least for us.
That you for providing some real world insight. Spread the truth... Good or bad... And let the engineering speak for itself, rather than some political pundit.
Totally agree...we bought ours to save some money, but more to help break the dependancy on fuel. We get 39-45 miles on a charge and can't complain. We love the car and the idea.
Maybe you should compare world wide sales?