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October Electric Car Sales: Chevy Volt Outsells Nissan Leaf

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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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New-car sales figures are out for October, and in the plug-in electric car arena, Volt supporters can let out a muffled cheer. Finally.

The hometown favorite outsold the imported Nissan Leaf by almost 260 units, the first time in many months it's been able to best the battery electric hatchback from Japan.

During the month, Nissan sold 849 Leafs, bringing in the 2011 total to 8,048 (plus an additional 18 during December 2010, when Nissan sold its first 2011 Leaf). The company continues to be on target for meeting its goal of 10,000 or more Leaf sales during calendar 2011.

Nissan spokeswoman Katherine Zachary noted that the company is now between the 2011 and 2012 model years for the Leaf, so deliveries lagged slightly this month over last month's total of 1.031.

In October, GM sold 1,108 Volts--better than last month's 723, and ahead of the Leaf for the first time since early this year--squeaking the 2011 total past the 5,000 mark by only three cars. The company also sold a further 326 Volts last December, the first month in which a Volt was delivered to a retail buyer.

Chevrolet has consistently said it will build 10,000 Volts for retail sale during 2011. But it now seems likely that it won't sell 10,000 of them, leading us to ask last month if GM has a Volt sales problem.

Here's how Rob Peterson, long-suffering Volt spokesperson, explained that because Volts are built in the center of the country and must be trucked to early-sales markets on the coast, there's a 15-day minimum lag time between production and sales. That's could amount to 1,000 units.

2012 Nissan Leaf

2012 Nissan Leaf

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So if Chevy can sell 1,500 Volts each month in November and December, it could hit a total of 8,000 sales for this year--which would bring it close to the numbers it's been touting.

Meanwhile, Nissan hopes to sell about 1,000 Leafs per month over the same period, bringing its total to about 10,000.

We'll be watching. Tune back in at this same time next month.

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Comments (22)
  1. John, does this figure include sales in Canada? Any numbers on how many vehicles were built for / exported to Europe or China?
     
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  2. These are U.S. retail deliveries only.
     
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  3. Any idea when you might be able to report Canadian sales from the last two months?
     
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  4. There does seem to be a slow pickup of Volt sales as yesterday you could find over 3000 volts for sale on lots. There were just over 500 orphan leafs available. I would be more inclined to believe Nissan slow sales due to change from 2011 to 2012 than Chevy's delivery excuse. I mean the volt is only being shipped half way across the country. It's not like they have to cross an ocean and then half the country to make a delivery...cough cough Nissan.
     
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  5. @David: My understanding from GM is that the number of 3,000 Volts shown as "available" on Cars.com includes roughly 2,200 Volts designated as dealer demonstration units. Dealers certified to sell the Volt must agree to acquire one Volt and keep it in the dealership for six months, without selling it. Ultimately there will be about 2,600 such Volts as dealer demos. If this is the case, then there are only 800 or so Volts that are actually available for sale--which maps better against the 500 or so Leafs you cite. I would point out that there remain long waiting lists for both vehicles.
     
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  6. I was under the impression that there 2500 Volts that are at dealerships that cannot be sold. If so, the Volt and Leaf numbers look similar.
     
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  7. Cars.com reports as "available" ALL cars the dealers has that a customer has not taken delivery of, including the 2600 demo cars that cant be sold for 6 months, as well as cars sold and in transit to the dealer. So 3000 cars is not an accurate nember of inventory availbe to be purchased now.
     
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  8. Redemption, total EV1 leases from 96 to 2000 were only about 800 vehicles, so to SELL 1,000+ in one month much respek to GM!
     
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  9. Excepting high dollar, high profit, limited versions , such as ZR1 Corvettes, etc, GM has never continued to produce a "middle echelon" car that sold fewer than four or five times what the Volt will chalk up this year. The Volt is NOT a car that GM expects to make a profit from and, at this point, I wonder if anyone at GM could provide a plausible explanation of exactly why
    they are producing the Volt. Considering all the commercials and length of time the car has been available, and the $7500 subsidy
    that likely will disappear, these sales numbers seem anything but
    encouraging. Last I looked, Tesla's Model S had garnered over 6,000 advance sales, each with a $5K deposit on the books, and that car, most assuredly, will make a profit.
     
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  10. Yes, Ramon, and that's why Tesla continues to lose money on the "profitable" Roadster. Let me know when the Volt is sold in 50 states like the Corvette, too.
    Feel free to let me know when Tesla is a full-time OEM, too. You know, paying warranty claims, fighting dozens of lawsuits at the same time, etc... The real OEM costs won't be seen for Tesla for years, right about the time they will cease to exist.
    But since the point of every intentionally uneducated rant of yours is just to attack GM, have at it again and again.
    Or is it you don't even realize there are more than seven states to begin with? I'll help you out, cars sold nationally sell much better than cars sold in only seven states. Can you grasp that?
     
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  11. It's nice to know that this site still has its bias against GM. The fact that the article has to make the sales battle out as a rah rah event between the hometown favorite and the foreign import speaks volumes. Why can't the Volt be given credit for being the better car and hence having higher sales numbers based on technical merit. Anybody who would blow 30,000+ on a car that only runs 70 miles on a charge is either nuts or has serious cash to blow. I could careless if Saddam Hussien made the car; if it's better it's better, end of story.
     
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  12. @Larry: Except that, ummmm, the Volt *doesn't* have higher sales numbers, whether based on technological merit or anything else. If you read the article, you'll notice that total Volt sales are 5,000 and total Leaf sales are 8,000. That's not my definition of "higher sales numbers" for the Volt.
     
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  13. Up to this point demand has not been the issue but supply has been. This obviously is no longer the case and Volt will start moving past Leaf as long as GM supply enough cars. Oh, but this site, being the non-biased site it is, is already aware of this.
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  14. And your argument is my definition of intellectual dishonesty. Since you are not interested in the truth I won't waste my time.
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  15. I wouldn't waste my time with these people robok2. They are not interested in intellectually honest debates. They just want to cheerlead for GM's failure.
     
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  16. This site never shows favoritism for GM or posts unfair data. How can you compare an all electric sales with a hybrid sales? To be fair, you should compare the sales of the Volt hybrid with the sales of another leading hybrid...there are a lot of hybrids out there, you know to compare with. The only reason GM built the Volt is to slow down the manufacturing of all electrics and jack their price out of the reach of the working class and keep us chained to the gas pumps. The Volt is heading in the same direction GM is trying to crawl out of - "Death by stupidity".
     
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  17. James, you're the only person on this site who still doesn't get the difference between a hybrid and the Volt with the RE. And yes, GM isn't interested in profit or learning technically, their sole mission on Earth is to destroy the EV market so we can all use more oil.
    Seriously, if you can't tell the difference between a car driven 80-95% on electricity and a standard hybrid, you've got bigger problems.
    Yes, NA car of the Year and bringing in the crowds to GM with months-long waiting lists while improving its technology, yes, clearly the mark of a stupid company.
    Or so claims the guy who still claims almost every day that EVs are cheaper to make than hybrids. One example?
     
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  18. I wish there was a clear metric for bias, but there isn't. So I am going to take a shot at it here. There are ten paragraphs here and I will attempt to rank each one on whether they favor the Volt (+1) or the LEAF (-1). The total will indicated the bias in the article. Please feel free to chime in on the ranking and method.

    1) Volt positive,+1
    2) Volt positive, +1
    3) LEAF positive, -1
    4) LEAF positive, -1
    5) Volt positive, +1
    6) Volt skeptical, -1
    7) Volt skeptical, -1
    8) Volt skeptical, -1
    9) LEAF positive, +1
    10) Neutral, 0
    Total = -1 which means the article is balanced within the margin of error of the technique or perhaps slightly biased toward the LEAF.

    Of course, it is always possible that the "facts" contributed to the article.
     
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  19. I always have facts, too
     
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  20. IMHO, the important fact is that both BEVs and hybrids are in demand and selling. This will lead to a greener America and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
     
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  21. I thought the sales figure for the Volt would be much higher. After all they manufactured over 4000 cars, so I figured about 4000 sales. Not so. Assuming they continue to make over 4000 cars per month, and now that all the dealers have their demos, maybe next month will have 4000 sales.
     
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