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Nissan Leaf Beats Chevy Volt in April Sales

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On: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 7:23PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Beats Chevy Volt in April Sales

April Leaf sales actually surpassed Nissan's expectations. It had anticipated selling about 900 models by the end of April, but exceeded that by more than 15 percent.

As to why the Leaf was able to gain so markedly on the Volt that remains unclear. Both vehicles' sales are quite modest when compared to higher volume gas vehicles (Nissan models like the Rogue and Sentra sold more than 8,000 and 9,000 units respectively), so the differences could be negligible. Green Car Reports says that part of the discrepancy could be related to the fact that Chevy decided to redirect certain Volt models to dealerships to be used as demo vehicles. These cars would have otherwise been sold to the public, and could have increased April's totals, though it's unclear how many sales were affected. Still, it seems significant that the Leaf nearly doubled its sales in just a month while the Volt slipped backwards.

Since their respective launches late last year, the Nissan Leaf has had a lot of trouble keeping up with the Chevy Volt. Both cars have been up for a number of "Best of the Year" awards, but it seems that the only time the Nissan Leaf has won was when the Chevy Volt wasn't competing. Otherwise, it was Chevy walking home with new hardware.

Awards are nice and all, but it all really comes down to sales. There, too, Chevy has dominated the Leaf. Volt sales through March exceeded 1,500, while the Leaf barely scraped by with a third of that number.

But, it seems that the tides are turning ever-so-slightly. While the Volt doubled the Leaf in March sales—608 to 298—the Leaf managed to leap right past the Volt in April, with a 573 to 493 Leaf-to-Volt tally. Considering how badly the Leaf was lagging throughout the start of the year, that's a rather impressive gain.

Despite April's success, Nissan has still only sold about half as many Leafs as Chevy has Volts. Numbers indicate that the Volt has sold a total of 2,209 models since launching last year, while the Leaf has sold 1,044. Still, the fact that Nissan sold more Leafs in April than it did in the nearly four months since the December launch is a good sign for the automaker.

Whatever the case, it will be interesting to watch the Volt vs. Leaf race. Last month at the New York Auto Show, Nissan announced plans to re-open Leaf order books this month—they had been closed since Nissan met its goal of reserving 20,000 Leafs last September—in an effort to grow sales. Nissan will open the books in the initial launch states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, with additional markets set to be added in the fall.

Meanwhile, Chevy also plans to increase production and distribution of the Volt. It will make the Volt available in dealerships in every state of the union by the end of the year.

Nissan expects to sell around 10,000 Leafs by year-end. Chevy, too, expects to sell around 10,000 Volts.


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