Electric Car Sales: Leaf Trounces Volt, But Don't Take It Seriously

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Ryan Reynolds Nissan's latest Leaf Spokesperson

Ryan Reynolds Nissan's latest Leaf Spokesperson

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It was a slow month for electric-car sales, with just over 1,000 Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt vehicles together delivered during July.

Nissan delivered 931 Leaf battery-electric cars, a decline from June's 1,708, and Chevrolet--which is suffering from a now-ended four-week summer shutdown for retooling at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant--sold a mere 125 Volts.

That brings the 2011 Leaf total to 4,806, and the number of Volts sold to 2,870 (plus another 326 Volts and 19 Leafs in December 2010).

One warning: Be on the lookout for silly, misleading articles that claim electric-car demand is ebbing, that plug-ins are a failure in the marketplace, and so forth.

That's been a running theme from certain news outlets almost since the first plug-ins were delivered last December, and it's simply not true.

Both the Leaf and the Volt have waiting lists with thousands of names on them, and neither car is close to available nationwide. Chevy says its Volt rollout will reach all 50 states by the end of the year, while Nissan announced its newest sales territories last month.

2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011

2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011

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Now that Volt production is up and running again, Chevrolet expects to deliver a total of 16,000 Volts by December 31. That means it will have to sell more than 2,500 a month for each of the five remaining months of 2011.

By comparison, Chevrolet sold 24,648 Cruze gasoline compact sedans in July, or more than three times the total number of plug-ins sold this year. in other words, it's early days yet for electric cars.

July was also the first month in which the first deliveries the 2012 Fisker Karma extended-range electric car were logged. At least two were delivered: the first one to actor and environmental advocate Leonardo DiCaprio, and the second one to the chairman of Fisker's board, the noted venture capitalist Ray Lane.

However, "we are still awaiting final sign off from CARB and EPA on certification, which is due in the next couple of weeks," wrote Fisker representative Roger Ormisher. "So although keys have been handed over, the cars are not officially registered yet and will most likely show up in August registrations."

Tesla, Think, and Wheego may also have delivered plug-in cars during July, but those companies do not provide monthly sales data.

Overall car sales for the month of July were expected to be down slightly on the same month a year ago.

[Chevrolet, Nissan]


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Comments (9)
  1. 2500 Volts per month is economically (and environmentally) insignificant. Will GM kill this sales albatross?

  2. Just read an article that claims GM sold 125 Volts last month and that there are plenty of Volts available at dealerships in his area. Who's the liar here?

  3. Ramon, again, what part of reality don't you get? Your constant bitter whining about every issue gets very old quickly. Again, GM has stated for a LONG time, and everyone but you seems to understand, that production would be 10-15k in 2011. People like me have been waiting for months, as forum after forum attests.
    But, of course, for you, thousands of people commenting that they're on a waiting list (for a car that's in sale in what, seven of 50 states now?) could never mean as much as one article... Sad.
    GM dealers love the Volt, it was NACOY and it brings in other potential customers, too. Yes, they should kill the Volt because killing the EV1 worked out so well last time...

  4. GM did sell 125 Volts last month; see article above. And if there are "plenty of Volts available at dealerships in his area" (a claim about which I am enormously skeptical), there are literally thousands of owners on the waiting list who would like to know where that area is. Let me know where the author was located, please, so I can post it to the Volt Group?

  5. Here's a quick test: call your local Chevy dealer and tell them you want to buy a Volt, but you must be able to drive it off the lot TODAY. After they stop laughing, you will have your answer. If you happen to be extremely lucky, and the dealer says they can meet that request, next ask if the the price will be MSRP.

  6. OK @Steve, The answer is that I cannot buy one here in Massachusetts. The dealers don't have them. What is the conclusion?

  7. I just did a cars.com search. Its really not that hard to do. Their were 8 vehicles within 100 miles of me. 35 withing 250. 110 volts within 500 miles and 787 total volts available within no limit. Most of them were priced at 42,000 to 46,000 dollars. Does Cars.com list the total universe of available Volts? I don't know. It does indicate that cars are readily available. What are you people waiting for? Put your money where your mouth is and go purchase one of these babies. For that kind of money I'll take a Mercedes 300C.

    P.S. I did a quick search in Zip Code 02284 (That's Boston, Massachusetts John) There were 32 volts available. Go get one this weekend. Maybe Obama will give you some jack from his stash.

  8. Great research, thanks for contributing. I would suspect that those cars reflect the resumption of Volt production at a much higher rate in late July. August sales figures are likely to be low, but I'd bet that sales figures start to rise sharply in Sept and thereafter. We shall see ...

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