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Leaf Beats Volt In Six-Month Sales

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On: Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 8:53AM | By: Chris Weiss

Leaf Beats Volt In Six-Month Sales

Well this is a bit of a turtle-vs-hare outcome. The Nissan Leaf, which spent its first few months lagging well behind the Chevy Volt in terms of sales, actually came out the victor in six-month sales total. And it did it by a pretty comfortable margin.

The Leaf and Volt are natural rivals having been two high-profile, mass-market plug-ins that hit the market within days of each other last December. After being handily beaten the first few months, the Leaf had its first victory in April, when it sold 573 to 493 Volts. It beat the Volt more decisively in May, selling 1,142 to 481, but as of the start of last month, was still lagging just behind the Volt in total sales.

That all changed during the month of June, in which the Leaf beat the Volt by over 1,000 units, selling 1,708 to the Volt's 561. That big lead was entirely responsible for Nissan's first-half-of-2011 victory: 3,875 Leafs through last month versus 2,745 Volts. In other words, Chevy sold 70 percent as many Volts as Nissan sold Leafs.

When taking last December into account, the lead is smaller, but still favors Nissan 3,894 to 3,071.

It's interesting to see the Leaf beating the Volt because the latter would appear to have more mass-market appeal. While the Leaf relies solely on battery power and offers between only 73 and 100 miles of range, the Volt has a range-extending gas engine that gives it about 350 miles of total driving. The Volt's strong comparative start was predictable, but the Leaf's gain and overtaking is a little surprising given its lack of range. The Leaf does cost about $7,400 less, so it is an attractive option for those that drive a limited and predictable number of miles each day.

Both Chevy and Nissan have indicated in the past that they expect to sell around 10,000 of their respective green vehicles this year, a number which neither is quite on pace for. In another six months, we'll see if Nissan is able to hang on for the first-year sales victory or if Chevy retakes the lead.

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