2013 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Perhaps a result of the comparatively limited selection of electric cars currently on sale, they've not yet developed any real gender stereotypes.
While the geeky technological aspect might mark most out as a product most likely to be used by men, you're as likely to see women actually driving an electric car as you are men.
For the Nissan Leaf, that's certainly the case--and Nissan's latest sales statistics show that a high proportion of Leafs sold are actually bought by women.
The Detroit News reports that the proportion of women buying brand new Leafs has risen from 10-15 percent of buyers, to 25-30 percent. That's just since the start of 2013, and echoes a general change in the buyer profile for Leafs since its price drop earlier in 2013.
Initially, some women were put off by range anxiety--worried what might happen if they were driving alone and ran out of charge, Nissan's director of electric vehicle sales Erik Gottfried said.
Leaf buyers are now younger and from lower income brackets than they were at launch, he told The Detroit News. More people in their 30s and more families are taking an interest in the vehicle, and all manner of vehicles are being traded in--including large pickups like the Ford F-150.
Nissan's other data is more predictable: Leaf buyers are cross-shopping the vehicle with cars like the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt, though in some markets customers are even comparing it with the Tesla Model S.
The Leaf's starting price, $29,650 including a mandatory $850 delivery fee (and before all federal and local incentives) has played a large part in its 2013 sales, up 99 percent in September compared to one year ago. Value, says Gottfried, rather than environmental concerns, has become a key reason for choosing the Leaf. Lease deals from just $199 per month have also aided the surge in sales.
With rising sales and a less gender and age-biased buyer profile than electric car early adopters, is the Nissan Leaf becoming a true mainstream automobile? Nissan's attempt to produce a real-world electric car in a familiar segment certainly seems to be heading that way.
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