Slow Sales for Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt

Written by ADH Staff on Friday, 04 February 2011. Posted in Automotive, Business

Chevrolet VoltThe electric car revolution is here. The question is, apart from the hype, have you noticed?

No one else has noticed either. Despite the incessant hype over the sale of the Chevrolet Volt and, to a lesser extent, the Nissan Leaf, sales of the electric and/or electric range extended vehicles have been underwhelming.

Tech blog Engadget notes that both the Volt and Leaf have been honored with “Car of the Year” awards, but that the accolades from the press have done little to spur buyers into action.

According to that blog, both cars “have stunningly low sales in their first couple of months on sale. January’s numbers have just come out and the Volt leads the way with 321 vehicles sold or leased, while Nissan scores an even weaker 87 purchases.”

Despite the underwhelming sales figures, U.S. based press outlets seemed eager to celebrate the Volt’s sales victory over the rival Nissan Leaf. CNNMoney.com crowed in its headline: “Volt sales are kicking the Leaf’s butt,” for a story published on February 1.

Way to go on that overwhelming sales victory, Chevrolet.

As for the Leaf, CNN noted that Nissan claims to have 20,000 people who have paid $99 each to get on a waiting list for the Leaf. And Nissan claims that there is no reason to panic over the paltry sales numbers in January. “Our main goal right now is quality, not quantity,” Nissan’s U.S. general manager Al Castignetti told CNN.

The weak sales to date come despite generous government subsidies available to those who purchase either the Leaf or the Volt. Buyers of either vehicle are eligible for $7500 in federal subsidies.

As for Chevrolet, the bailed out automaker claims it is building Volt’s as quickly as it can. “Right now we’re selling every one we can make, so as shipments rise we expect sales to rise as well,” said GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson.

Currently, the Volt is available in only a few markets across the United States, but GM expects to begin selling the car in all 50 states before the end of the year. In addition to the United States, Nissan sells the Leaf in Japan and Europe as well.

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Jillian Michaels